Saturday, April 8, 2023

Maestro in Blue--Greek series

"Maestro in Blue" (2023) is the first time Netflix has aired a Greek tv. series.    It likely won't be the last.  Many viewers are looking forward to the second season.  It is available dubbed in English.  It has made it to the top ten of series in 31 countries.

The island of Corfu is a character   Like California, but being an island boating is a bigger deal.  The story starts with the arrival of Orestis who has agreed to restart a musical festival that had been stopped because of the Covid 19 Pandemic.  Very soon he is distracted by a much younger Klelia (actually supposed to be 19).   

We soon meet most of the characters.  Fanis and his wife, Sophie (having an affair with a local doctor).    Their daughter is Klelia and they have a son Antonis.   They have been stockpiling some illegal gained money.  He is planning to run for mayor.  We also meet his smuggling partner,  Harlambos  who Fanis does not like.  His wife Maria is helping with the festival  Their son Spyros is attracted to Antonis, but he is ambiguous about being gay and he also has a relation with a young woman who knows he is inclined to homosexuality, but doesn't care.

The story revolves around the relationships of the described characters and a few others as they ready for the revived music festival.  Secrets that are not all really secret, both sexual and criminal.  There are also significant episodes of homophobia and adultery.  The music festival is intended to cover a wide variety of musical genres.  Some of the music is really outstanding

If you are queasy with topless nudity or simulated sex of both types there will be a few uncomfortable moments.

Christopher Papakaliatis is director, writer and lead actor.  He started acting for television at age 16.  At age 23 he wrote his first television script.  He wrote, directed acted and was music his first feature, "What If" (2012).  He also acted in theatrical plays including as Mozart in "Amadeus."  Many of his films were commercial successes in Greece.  He has 19 credits as an actor, 6 as a director and 10 as a writer.

Music, really a backbone of the series was handled by Kostas Christides.  He had studied music in England and Los Angeles.  He worked mostly in the American film industry with a few efforts in Greece.  His film credits include "The Shipping News" (2001) and "Runaway Jury" (2003).  "Maestro in Blue" was his third film with Christopher Papakaliatis.  

Cinematography was handled by Antonis Zkeris.  Some really beautiful scenery.  9 film credits.

Editing was by Stella Filippopoulou who has 29 film credits.  

Klelia Andriolatou is the leading lady, also named Klelia who is courting a man 25 some odd years older.  She had started in journalism, but soon studied theatre and had appeared in 2 plays.  She has 5 film credits.

Fanis Mouratidis plays an ambitious man who wants to be mayor and has been building up his resources by laundering money.  26 film credits.

Maria Kavoyianni played abused wife to  Harambos and was active with festival.  48 film credits.    

Marisha Triantafyllidou played Sofia     35 film credits

Haris Alexiou played mother to Sofia and sings a few highlighted songs.  Haris is a very prominent singer in Greece who also composes.  Mostly appeared in video films.  She performed on the soundtrack for "Before Midnight" (2013).

Giannis Tsortekis played Haralambos.  With 40 film credits.

Orestis Chalkias played Antonis, a musician/singer who sang key songs.  He had been a founder of a rock band.

Spyro Curtis played a musical consultant friend to Orestis.  Spyro has appeared in numerous American films in uncredited roles (including 12 I have seen).   He has been a music producer for "The Magnificent Seven" (2016) and "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" (2019).  He was a music supervisor for "Dune" (2021).

An oddity is that at least four actors have taken on their stage names with their roles.

Music does play an ongoing theme of the film, but if you have only a passing interest in music there is also many relationship dramas.  With its worldwide acceptance it seems the second series will have a ready made audience.

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