Synopsis by Robert Firsching
Greek filmmaker Michael Papas wrote and directed this fictionalized treatment of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus starring Christos Zannidis as Orestis, a young Cypriot who flees his small village with his family after rumors of imminent invasion by the Turks begin to spread. Following much the same story arc as the NBC miniseries Holocaust (1979), the film follows the family from their idyllic summer through a terrified run by car and on foot, finally landing them in a huge Greek refugee camp where both their family loyalty and human spirit are tested by the harsh conditions. Eventually, Orestis' grandmother (Margarita Solomou) is deported from the Turkish zone after her husband (Aristodimos Fessas), a former guerrilla fighter, is beaten to death by Turkish troops. A fascinating study of a family's courage and resilience under extremely harsh circumstances, Avrianos Polemistis is nonetheless a reactionary film in many ways. Perhaps it could have done with some distance from its subject matter, which might have actually intensified its power by removing the oversimplifications which seem to be an unavoidable side effect of highly personal films made in close proximity to the events that they depict. Such small quibbles aside, however, it is a worthwhile and moving film that deserved more crossover play than it got.