7.4/10
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Mediterraneo (1991)

In WW2, an Italian Army unit of misfits occupies an isolated non-strategic Greek island for the duration of the war.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Diego Abatantuono ...
Nicola Lorusso
Claudio Bigagli ...
Raffaele Montini
...
Antonio Farina
Claudio Bisio ...
Corrado Noventa
Gigio Alberti ...
Eliseo Strazzabosco (as Luigi Alberti)
Ugo Conti ...
Luciano Colasanti
Memo Dini ...
Libero Munaron
Vasco Mirandola ...
Felice Munaron
...
Vassilissa
Luigi Montini ...
Pope
Irene Grazioli ...
Iazu
Antonio Catania ...
Carmelo LaRosa
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Storyline

Greek Sea, World War II. An Italian ship leaves a handful of soldiers in a little island; their mission is to spot enemy ships and to hold the island in case of attack. The village of the island seems abandoned and there isn't a single enemy in sight, so the soldiers begin to relax a little. Things change when their ship is hit and destroyed by the enemy, and the soldiers find themselves abandoned there. Actually, the island isn't deserted and when the Greeks understand that those Italians are harmless, they came out of their hiding places in the mountains and continue their peaceful lives. Soon the soldiers discover that being left behind in a God-forgotten Greek island isn't such a bad thing, after all... Written by Flavio Rizzardi <spillo@maya.dei.unpid.it>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sent to invade a remote Greek island, eight misfit sailors discover a magical place where anything can happen! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

31 January 1991 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Mediterráneo  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,532,791 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (international)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Italian Navy has had several ships named Giuseppe Garibaldi in its fleet over the years. During World War II a cruiser bore the name, but unlike it is shown in the movie no supply vessel was ever named after the national hero and general. See more »

Quotes

Private: Dedicated to all those who are running away.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A European view of Mediterraneo
2 June 1999 | by (Oxford, England) – See all my reviews

The outline of this film appears in other postings, so I will just add my two drachma by way of critical appraisal. In case you are in any doubt, Mediterraneo ranks in my best three ever - a magnificent film. If you never see it, part of your life will have been unlived.

Mediterraneo epitomises the difference between Hollywood and the demands of a largely US audience and the subtler approach of the European director/writer who seeks simply to express him/herself through the medium. I read two reviews in the Washington Post both of which managed to misunderstand the film completely, one going so far as to characterise the cast as "Marx Brothers". In fact, they are probably the finest ensemble of characters I have ever seen in film - a completely disparate group of individuals who nearly all manage to find spiritual (and sexual) fulfulment in the sensuality of Aegean island life.

The film is multi-layered and, the more obvious ones, such as the powerful anti-war message and the venality of post-Fascist Italy are often mentioned. But no-one has ever picked up on the phrase "una face, una race" which is repeated throughout the film. This is the nostrum that Italians and Greeks have a common Mediterranean heritage (come on Washington Post hacks - didn't the title give you a clue?) and that there is an enormous irony in the Italians - who rightly pride themselves on the antiquity of their civilisation - seeking to subdue another culture whose origins are 2000 years older.

This is underlined by the easy participation of the soldiers in both high and low Greek culture, .....the painting of the frescoes in the church (n.b. the Orthodox Church predating the Holy Roman Empire by centuries - clever eh!) and the wonderful unifying theme of football, which only a European or South American viewer could truly appreciate.

The group's ambivalent attitude to sexual mores adds to the sense of the place as essentially a home for Greco-Roman sensuality - a fact which is gloriously exposed with the later juxtaposition of our band of heroes with the starched British Royal Navy officers who arrive to remove them from the island.

I have not seen any mention in other reviews of the beautiful cadence of the Italian dialogue - as lilting as the bazouki music which accompanies much of the film.

The sense of disillusionment that takes over the film at the end is very powerful and it is no accident that Salvatore shows us the Lieutenant returning to the island on a ferry full of burnt-pink tourists.

This is a film that can only truly be appreciated if you have a feeling for, and understanding, of European culture. This is a film for grown-ups.

Mediterraneo demonstrates that though box-office grosses for European films are small (unless it is something produced explicity for a US audience, like the truly dreadful Four Weddings) our directors have managed to stay true to their craft.

If there are not enough car chases or shoot outs for you, look out for the five-star ratings in the Washington Post.

Fact 1: Only 10% of Americans possess a passport: Fact 2: None of them review for the Washington Post.


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