The Engagement of Anna

Το Προξενειό της Άννας
To Proxenio tis Annas

A perceptive portrayal of a young maid, who works for a fading bourgeois Athenian family.
Brought to Athens from a poor village, the modest, uncomplaining, intensely religious Anna has been in the service of the same family for ten years, dutifully supporting her mother and siblings back home. Anna’s employers decide that she is of marrying age and at a family gathering, they discuss the specifics of a “proxeneio”, the arranging of a marriage. They assemble to see and assess the prospective bridegroom and to ensure that their first meeting is a “success”. That afternoon, Kosmas the prospective bridegroom arrives and the family gives them permission for an evening out. During the course of the evening, Anna and Kosmas are drawn closer to each other as they exchange stories of despair and discuss their dreams. This night changes Anna forever, especially in that it awakens her to the fact that her employers have always considered her not as sentient, nor as human, as they. So moving is Anna’s sudden turn, her fury at all the lost years – a revelation elicited by an honest man and the songs of her childhood village – it feels like the film speaks for servants, employees, prisoners everywhere. Too late Anna learns that love and concern often are cloaks for control. In the end, however, when the family realises that they cannot afford to lose the services of this faithful “girl from the village”, they decide to stop the marriage. Anna lacks the strength to free herself from the matriarch’s yoke and her responsibilities towards her family, and submits to a joyless life alongside her mistress.
Employing cinematic undertones, this realistic portrayal of social customs is a comment on the hypocrisy of a bourgeois family, but also on the phenomenon of social confinement.


Director: Pantelis Voulgaris | Rating: R 18+ | 1972 | Drama | 82 minutes | Greek dialogue with English subtitles

Director's Bio - Pantelis Voulgaris

Pantelis Voulgaris was born in Athens in 1940 and studied at the Stavrakou Film School. He worked initially as an assistant director and made his first short in 1965. Since then, his films have won international acclaim and numerous awards, establishing his reputation as one of the foremost Greek film directors of his generation. He has also directed several documentaries for Greek television and the hour-long documentary on the poet Yannis Ritsos for German Television. He has also directed for the stage. In 1995 Pantelis Voulgaris was honoured by the Museum of Modern Art in New York with a mid-career retrospective.

PRINCIPAL CAST

Anna Vagena (Anna), Smaro Beaki (Mistress), Costas Rigopoulos (Theodoros), Stavros Kalaroglou (Kosmas), Aliki Zografou (Elisabeth), Alekos Oudinotis, Maria Martika

AWARDS

Berlin Film Festival – 1973, International Forum Des Jungen Films
FIPRESCI Award
Otto- Dibelius Award
OCIC Award

Thessaloniki Film Festival
– 1972
Artistic Grand Prix
Best Director Award
Best Actress Αward
Best Supporting Actress Award
Best Supporting Actor Award
 


DIRECTOR's – PREVIOUS FILMS

1965 The Thief (Short Film)

1966 Jimmy the Tiger (Short Film)
International Film Festival of Thessaloniki:
   Best Short Film Award
   Best Actor Award
   Critics Awards

1969 The Dance of the Goats
(Documentary)
Grand Prix Contemporary Film Festival, Athens

1972 The Engagement of Anna

International Film Festival of Thessaloniki FIPRESCI,
Best Film Award
Best Director Award
Berlin Film Festival :
   Otto-Dibelius Award
   OCIC Award

1973 The Great Love Songs


1976 Happy Day

International Film Festival of Thessaloniki
   Best Film Award
   Best Director Award

1980 Eleftherios Venizelos


1985 Stone Years

International Film Festival of Thessaloniki
   Best Film Award
   Best Director Award
Venice Film Festival:
   Best Actress Award
   Special Nomination for Best Actress
Valencia Film Festival:
   Best Actress Award
   Best Music Award

1988 The Striker with the No.9
Silver Knight Award – Moscow Film Festival

1991 Quiet Dais in August

Mention by the Berlin Film Festival's International Protestant Film Jury
Selected to represent Greece as Best Film for the European Film Awards

1995 Acropole


1996 Cairo International Film Festival
– Best Director Award
Valencia Film Festival – Best Music Award

1998 It’s a Long Road

Hellenic Ministry of Culture 1998 National Film Awards
   Best Actor (Giorgos Armenis)
   Best Make-Up

2004 Brides

45th Thessaloniki International Film Festival – 2004:
   First Prize for Fiction Film,
Best Leading Actress Award
Best Supporting Actress Award
Best Cinematography Award
Best Set Design Award
Best Music Award
Best Sound Award
Best Editing Award
Best Costumes Award
 

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL SCREENINGS

Berlin Film Festival, International Forum Des Jungen Films – 1973
Thessaloniki International Film Festival– 1972
London International Film Festival
Los Angeles International Film Festival
New York International Film Festival
New Delhi International Film Festival
Moscow International Film Festival
Belgrade International Film Festival



Reviews

Review by Vincent Canby “The Screen: ‘Engagement of Anna,” on Bourgeois Greece”, The New York Times, April 8, 1975.
http://query.nytimes.com/search/article-printpage.html
?res=9506E5DE133CE034BC4053DFB266838E669EDE
Journal Article by Peter Pappas titled “The Engagement of Anna. Towards the definition of a new Greek cinema” from Jump Cut, no.9, 1975, pp. 4-6
http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC09folder/EngagementofAnna.html

 


"Among the first and most distinctive manifestations of a different style of filmmaking which came to be known as New Greek Cinema.”
- Alissa Simon, Film Centre, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

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