Peftoun oi sfaires san to halazi ki o travmatismenos kallitehnis anastenazei (1977) AKA A Hail of Bullets

A sarcastic, improvisational film, with anarchic origins, strongly cinephile flavor, and largely autobiographical in nature and content. A film director strives to escape alienation, while, at the same time, expressing his intense feelings for his wife, cinema and Greece during the restoration of democracy.

Director: Nikos Alevras.
Stars: Litsa Gerardou, Nikos Alevras. 
A Hail of Bullets 

Here’s a little bit of history behind this film that I found online:

“A Hail of Bullets (a literal rendition of the full title should be: “Bullets strike like hailstones and the wounded artist sighs”) has become one of the most famous “forbidden” films in Greek history thanks to an unusual event that caused an enormous political uproar: In 28 April 1984, the Channel 2 of Greek State TV screened “A Hail of Bullets” at 10.00 a.m. (that’s a bit early for Greece) but cut it on the air after 20 minutes of broadcast. The opening sequence, where a hairy naked grown-up man (director himself) receives a thick layer of talc on his private parts by a woman who is allegedly his mother -a sequence culminating in a now legendary breastfeeding-, incited a huge “hailstorm” of phone calls to State TV offices by infuriated viewers.

Whereas in 1978 this film had been rated as “suitable for all audiences”, received generally warm reviews by established film critics as another worthy specimen of “New Greek Cinema”, in 1984 the next day after the above mentioned incident the film was rated as “adult”, banned from TV and his director was “lynched” in the press. The right-wing conservatives and the church took advantage of the “scandal” in order to attack the government of socialists who easily succumbed to criticism and joined the campaign against “moral decay”. The director of Channel 2 was forced to resign. Rumour has it that President of Greek Democracy, Konstantinos Karamanlis asked to see the controversial film in a private screening at the presidential palace and had some… good laughs. During the following days, the copy of the film used by state TV was transferred to the headquarters of the ruling party of PASOK. The party leadership had their own screening “in camera”. After 25 years this print resurfaced according to Nikos Alevras in the flea market of Monastiraki, Athens, along with a large part of the now financially bankrupt PASOK’s property (yes, the once almighty party gone literally bankrupt). That was the only surviving print, bearing apparent marks of censorship, which director re-released without any restoration process in a DVD bundled with a “commemorative” book in 2010. I’m not sure we should believe everything in this story but the sure thing is that if there’s truly a single film of Greek cinema that deserves the status of “cult”, this is definitely A Hail of Bullets.”

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One Comment

  1. Lemmy
    April 16, 2019
    Reply

    Great Jon. Stuff like this is why I love Rarefilmm! Crazy rare, and just plain crazy! Brilliant work as always, Jon!!

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