Beautifully made pic is based on a short story by celebrated 19th century Greek writer Giorgios Vizyenos, who wrote much of his material from a mental home. It’s a visually lush production, but too gentle and low-key to warrant more than TV slottings in most territories.
Film concerns a young boy sent from his home to Constantinople to work as a tailor’s apprentice. His grandfather has filled him with wonderful stories about his travels and the exotic places and people he encountered, but when the boy returns home he discovers that his grandfather has, in fact, never left the district where he grew up — his only journeys have been in his mind. Colorful scenes set in old Constantinople depict both the fantasy of the stories, involving sultans and princesses, and the reality. Pic is structured around the elderly Vizyenos in prison, where he still manages to conjure up images of beauty despite being confined in the most squalid surroundings. But the film is dramatically slight, and likely to be of more interest to Greek audiences aware of the writer’s life and reputation. All technical credits are highly professional.