|Myrtos Beach on the island Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands of Greece.|
Greece: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Guest Post by Liz Alvey
|Bougainvillea in Fiscardo|
I will admit that the first 50 pages created doubts. But then I was hooked. The painful love story of the Italian Captain and the doctor’s daughter could have been just another romance. But the setting against the brutality of the Second World War and the hardships faced by the islanders adds another dimension. Whilst the story may be fiction, I know from the recollections of elderly Kefalonians, that the consequences of resistance and the punishments meted out are still keenly felt, decades later.
|Lighthouse Fiscardo, Kefalonia|
I didn’t visit Kefalonia whilst they were making the film of the book, which came out in 2001. Not deliberate, just a desire to explore some new Greek horizons. Although the director, John Madden, apparently looked at several potential locations, in the end, the film was shot largely in Kefalonia. A purpose built set was created near Sami, the island’s main port. The beautiful Antisamos beach served as the location for the Italian camp. Several key scenes were filmed at Myrtos, perhaps the most iconic beach in Greece and one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
|Lighthouse near Fiscardo|
Sadly, to me at least, the film was not as accurate in its re-creation of the book’s story and themes. And neither Penelope Cruz nor Nicholas Cage fulfilled my mental image of Pelagia and Antonio – not their fault, of course. I know that no film can replicate the detail of a novel, but for me the tone was too different and the story too focused on the central love story, to the exclusion of some of the subtler sub-plots.
View of Agia Efimia from Sami
Liz Alvey has had an almost 20 year love affair with Greece. As well as repeated visits to her beloved Kefalonia, she has travelled to many other Ionian and Aegean Islands and to Athens.
More Travel Boldly posts on Greece:
Greece: A Kefalonia Love Affair
Greece: adventures in the Ionian Islands