“To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Zorba’s wisdom and guidance include the following, as evidenced from direct quotes:
So, the creatively-blocked Bates clearly must learn to “let go” and love life — which includes allowing himself to be seduced by a beautiful widow (Irene Papas) who the villagers wrongly believe “belongs” to another young man who is in love with her; but the outcome of their brief dalliance is nothing short of tragic.
Indeed, a primary take-away from this tale is that the type of morality-policing of women we still see going on (albeit now accompanied by a much-needed uprising) is endemic in some societies — alongside xenophobia, as exemplified by the villagers’ disdainful treatment of a local French woman (Lila Kedrova) who spends her time reminiscing about her numerous wartime lovers, and who Zorba takes pity on.
Her eventual fate near the end of the film is equally distressing, especially given that it’s primarily driven by other aging women.
Co-producer Quinn’s performance — while arguably over-the-top at times — drives the film, showing us the inherent complexity of this middle-aged dynamo, who lives, loves, dreams, and acts at full volume. His impassioned performance (along with Kedrova’s touching turn as a deluded former-siren) make this critically and commercially popular film worth a look, though it’s not must-see viewing.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: