Young Aphrodites

Winner of the Best Director and International Critics’ prizes at the 1963 Berlin Film Festival, Nikos Koundouros’ Young Aphrodites draws on the tale of Daphnis and Chloe by Longus as well as Idylls by Theocritus. The setting is Ancient Greece, where a group of wandering shepherds come across a fishing village inhabited by women whose menfolk are out at sea. A brief love is born between young Skymnos (Vangelis Ioannidis) and Chloe (Cleopatra Rota), a girl of twelve. The wild games of the two adolescents awaken the desire of Lyka (K. Papakonstantinou), a mute shepherd boy who ravishes the innocent Chloe. This brutal act has tragic consequences. Director Koundouros conjures up a magical and mythological atmosphere in a film that’s very striking in its settings and photography. By turns primitive and poetic in tone, Young Aphrodites combines elements of neo-realism with more studied imagery of character and environment. A student
of painting and sculpture before turning to filmmaking, Koundouros was one of the pioneers of a new Greek cinema that emerged in the 1960s.
(1963. English subtitles. Black and white. 88 mins.)

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