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:: Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns (Fovou Tous Ellin

With three packed cinemas, a crowd who had come prepared to laugh and laugh loudly and with trays of tasty treats and wine waiting for after, a screening of “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns” was the perfect way to open the 10th Greek Film Festival, held again this year at Cinema Como. Shot partly in Crete and partly in Melbourne the film was directed by John Tatoulis, who commented before the film that it is his personal tribute to his youth growing up at the Westgarth Theatre watching cheesy Hollywood flicks by day and some of Greece’s finest cinema by night. And I can confirm, Cheesy and Greek is what “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns” most certainly is and the audience loved every minute of it.

Starring Lakis Lazopoulos a popular television and theatre performer in Greece who plays the dual roles of twin brothers Manos and George, the film centres around a good old Greek tradition, that of a vendetta. The vendetta pursued by Manos and Georges’ grandmother Maria (Noni Loannidou), revolves around a man named Vasilli Philipakis who for reasons unknown to them, killed their grandfather and whose name thereafter they have been force-fed. If ever Vasilli Philipakis’ whereabouts are discovered, it is Manos’s duty to his family, as the older brother to kill him, or so says his grandmother Maria. The only problem with this scenario is that Manos is not really made of killer material, being the primary school teacher in the local village and pining after his long lost love being more his style. Conveniently for Manos however, both his long lost love and his family’s nemesis happen to turn up in the same city, enter Melbourne.

As Manos flies to Melbourne and is greeted by the Australian contingent of the Poulakis family, his Uncle Stephanous (John Bluthal), Stepahnous’s daughter Nicki (Zoe Carides), Nicki’s daughter Katerina (Claudia Buttazoni) and a gathering of cigar smoking uncles, Mano’s twin brother George festers away in Greece wishing with all his heart and his empty bottle of liqueur that it was he rather than Manos who had been chosen to restore honour to their family. The desire to kill Vasilli Philipakis becomes all too much for George and so against the better judgement of everyone in his village, he too jumps on a plane and follows his brother out to Australia. There ensues a comedy of errors as one twin is mistaken for the other twin with, as they say “hilarious results” as the hitherto unknown truth behind the vendetta is revealed once and for all.

Although somewhat predictable, the film has some great moments that, without wanting to spoil anything, include a scene with a car full of Greek uncles and the Australian Police Force. At the end of the day, “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns” is a film that you can take your Mum to, or while you are at it why not get into the spirit and take the whole family.

Screening at Cinema Como and Dendy Brighton.