Delightful holiday


Delightful holiday

Directed by Gabriele Salvatores
Screenplay by Vincenzo Monteleone
Music by Giancarlo Bigazzi
At the Longford, Melbourne, from August 28
Reviewed by Ulrike Erhardt

Imagine a holiday on a Greek isle in the Aegean, together with eight misfit Italian soldiers and a donkey.

The soldiers are on a four-month mission: to guard the island in the name of Mussolini. The assignment is prolonged by four years when their ship and radio are destroyed.

They are an unlikely band of militarists. The philosophical Lieutenant Montini (Claudio Bigagli) becomes a dilettante artist. Miserable Noventa (Claudio Bisio) pines for his pregnant wife back home and will seize any opportunity to go absent without leave. The wildest dreams of the clowning Munaron brothers (Memo Dini and Vasco Mirandola) come true when they strike a lasting ménage à trois. Even the brutish Lo Russo (Diego Abatantuono), the last to let go of his warlike ideals, eventually takes up folk dancing.

Mediterraneo was the Best Foreign Language Film of 1992 for all the right reasons, including beautiful photography and a seductive musical score. It is the most entertaining and unmilitaristic film with soldiers you are ever likely to see — and more fund than a holiday in Greece on your own.