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TheWrap Screening Series: ‘Little England’ Director Explains Turbulent Greek Love Triangle

Pantelis Voulgaris says he was ”inspired by human nature … women tortured by the waves of loneliness“

Acclaimed Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris and star Andreas Konstantinou dropped by TheWrap’s Screening Series at the iPic Theater in Westwood on Wednesday night to discuss their period drama “Little England” (“Mikra Anglia”).

Flanked by their charming translator Aristotle Katopodis, the director of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, Voulgaris and Konstantinou regaled the crowd with stories behind the making of “Little England,” which is set in the 1930s on the Greek island of Andros.

The story follows two sisters, Orsa (Pinelopi Tsilika) and Moscha (Sofia Kakkali), who spend their lives in love with the same man, played by Konstantinou. Their mother (Aneza Papadopoulou) wants her daughters to be provided for, arguing that without money, life has no joy, but another character argues that “a heavy purse isn’t everything.”

Orsa is forced to marry Nikos (Maximos Moumouris), and years later, Moscha marries Spyros (Konstantinou). The sisters live in the same two-level house, and Orsa is forced to listen to her sister and Spyros make love while her own husband is off at sea.

Voulgaris explained that while arranged marriages were common in Greece back in the ’30s, times have changed and relationships now blossom naturally, though a strong emphasis on family remains.

In his director’s statement, Voulgaris said he was “inspired by human nature. Tales of existence. Of seamen who are tossed about the oceans, of women tortured by the waves of loneliness.”

Indeed, one recurring motif is the crashing waves that envelop the island, which serve as a metaphor for the turbulence caused by men leaving their wives behind to work at sea.

Voulgaris is the award-winning filmmaker behind such international hits as “The Engagement of Anna,” “Stone Years,” Quiet Days in August” and “Brides.” He directed from a script by his wife Ioanna Karystiani, who adapted her own 1997 novel.

The director revealed that the film cost less than $2 million, a remarkably low figure for a film with such rich production value and gorgeous costume design. The film was actually financed by the people of Andros, where the local community supported the film by donating authentic period furniture, fixtures, artifacts and clothing.

Konstantinou revealed that he looks up to American movie icons Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, as well as their modern-day counterparts Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and James Franco.

“Little England” won the Golden Goblet at the Shanghai International Film Festival and was named Best Picture at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards.