God Loves Caviar (2012) Poster

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I see a lot of bad reviews.
nikkd10 September 2015
Granted the move wasn't the best I have ever seen, and could have been better. If you take everything into consideration such as the limited budget and the complexity of the topic I think they did a good job of telling a very interesting story. Being Greek myself I had a very general idea of the topic prior to watching this film. It did a decent job of giving us the basics in the limited time available. You should watch this move and then do some research on the history to get a better understanding of what place.

I think a number of people are missing the moral of the story that is that your home is always where your heart is.

I don't wont to be spoiler but watch it regardless of its short coming and I am sure you will enjoy it.
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Half baked & soulless
tinakewy13 October 2012
God may love caviar but I did not love the film. I wanted to, desperately. I am Greek so I *really* wanted this to be an awesome, magical film... it wasn't.

The story starts off great, as being told by Varvakis' loyal footman, on a sandy beach of Zakynthos (Zante), to a bunch of children. It starts like a beautiful fairytale, but gets confusing very quickly.

It feels like there are 500 people being introduced into the film and we don't even get to get their names. There is zero, and I mean zero, depth to them. As a Greek, I recognized all the Greek actors, some of them pretty popular in Greece, who only got maybe 5 minutes of acting... some only 30 seconds on screen. We are never told who they are, why they are doing the things they are doing...

Another issue I had was, that time was not acknowledged as passing. We see Varvakis who is dressed as a Cretan but we later find out by accident he was from the island of Psarra, getting introduced to his baby girl who is at the time less than a year old. Then then next solid time reference we get is, it is 10 years later in Russia. He doesn't appear aged one bit and his daughter appears all the way from Greece, but instead of the child being 11-12 years old, she looks to be about 30-ish (yet Varvakis is still the same, not a single gray hair, he could have posed as his wife).

Another thing that struck me as odd was the choice of key actors... they were ugly. I am not used to seeing unattractive people on screen. No, I did not expect to see models but at least some sort of make-up, some sort of aesthetics... their looks made them uninteresting.

Another thing is, there is no explaining of historical facts at all. For instance all the references to the Greek Revolution were only understood by the audience, because we are Greek and we have been taught our history in school. However when some history of Russia popped up during the film, we had no clue and no explanation was given. I imagine if this film makes it to an international audience, unless they are avid history buffs, they will be mystified as well. I imagine the film was intended to be presented to an international audience, because the lead is a German actor, and the whole thing is shot in English.

There are positive aspects of the film as well. Sebastian Koch is absolutely magnificent in his role. He is very believable and convincing. So is Evgeniy Stychkin!! These two make the film barely watchable and bravo to them!! Another bravo to all the Greek actors, who for once!, learned their lines in English perfectly and with a good accent!!

Taking into consideration all the biographical films I have seen, this attempt seems cheap and amateurish. The story was there, it was an interesting life but it felt half-baked and soulless. I did not connect with a single character except his footman (Evgeniy Stychkin). There was no drama, no thrill, no romance, no danger... it felt like reading the newspaper to me. The costumes were also very cheap, you could tell, there was no detailing.. they felt like Halloween costumes. However the sets were very nice!!

In short, amateurish attempt, felt like reading a biography in Reader's Digest to me. I was left confused and in a blur about what had happened, the time line in which it happened and couldn't remember a single character from the dozens that were presented to us other than the two main ones...
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A story about one of the wealthiest Greek benefactors
diogenisp24 March 2013
Nice attempt, though it is obvious it needed better writing. Very good performances by Koch and Bioto,excellent direction of photography. What is more, is the fact that it is worth seeing it even though it goes very abruptly from scene to scene. Very good music by Minos Matsas.The poor part of the story is the supporting performances which are rather shallow, and not analyzed. Smaragdis, is a good director, decent, but he has never been in the position of creating a great and momentary film. Excellent editing by George Mavropsaridis, may be the best Greek editor at this time in Greek movie industry. Cameos are made by a number of well known Greek actors but the extensive use of English language during the film is not a beneficial factor of the movie.
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stunning film
toyotou13 October 2012
Stunning film, which provokes a multitude of sentiments throughout its length, from laughter to cry, bliss to mild horror. Surprising, exciting and well made. Great cinematography, some beautiful shots of the Greek sea. A complex story made clear even for the ignorant (of the History behind it) to understand. The life of a hero from birth to death fits perfectly in a very carefully constructed scenario, which is in line with real events of his life and his time. And even if it's made to look like a 'fairy tale' for kids the film itself assures you it is not. Very good cast, a combination of international actors adapting difficult roles and performing them well. I felt it contains the 'theatrical stage element' as many other Greek productions do. Overall, honest with the viewer, it helps you stay a viewer enhancing your critical thought about what you are watching, giving you time to process it. And above all, the first 30 minutes give you more satisfaction than the series of The Pirates of the Caribbean all together! I would watch it again.
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A great movie ( although with low funds & not to much local support)
vk_vkgr20 November 2012
A movie very close to Varvakis life. A movie that shows that Greeks are exactly like that , we always let our Βenefactors like Varvakis to die & always act like traitors for the interest of the wealthy countries(as long as our pocket is full with money). Something that still happens today. I believe that this is what Smaragdis is trying to tell us. But unfortunately we cannot handle the truth. If Smaragdis had more funds he could make it even better. Some of the special effects (like the destruction of the Turkish fleet) could have been better. But these cost. The change between languages might sound a little confusing but it was a necessity . A big bravo for Mr Smaragdis, i enjoyed the complex of this movie much more than El-Greco.
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moschoumargarita16 January 2013
One of the best films I have seen in my life!! Congratulations to everyone involved!

I found the direction wonderful, the costumes and sets were amazingly done and captured the era to a T!

Sebastian Koch was immaculate in his role of Ioannis Varvakis. I believe it was one of his best roles of his career. Ivan's performance was exceptional, and Marisha Triantafyllidou as Varvakis' daughter really impressed me.

As for the music, it was beautifully composed, it touched my heart deeply and it really filled up the film.
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needed to be made
zografialep16 September 2014
A very beautiful and moving film. Personally, despite the many mistakes I saw myself, I enjoyed it overall. There are beautiful costumes, amazing and fitting music, and in general good acting(though at some point the English of some Greeks sounded too 'accented' and it looked like they had trouble expressing themselves). The editing was a bit weird, and at some points the story was not explained quite well- I still don't understand how he contributed to the Revolution, though we can imagine he gave money. However, I was very happy it was filmed. The Greeks no longer produce much due to economical difficulties, and most importantly-for this case- they don't produce historical films.The only ones we can see are those from the 60'-70', and the quality is naturally bad. Historical films are always a bit inaccurate, but they are an incredible source of learning. We had a glimpse of what Greece after the Revolution was like, how was the civil war, the poverty, the British involvement. I knew these things from history books, but after this film I can picture it in my head, I have an idea of what Greece looked like at the end of the Ottoman era. It still might not be a perfect film, or even good for some, but for me it needed to be made.In order to create good things, we need to make a start. We cant say 'there's no money,we'll make a bad movie anyway so better leave it'. Even if it is a flawed movie due to the lack of funds, it is something,it is art. A beautiful film about an important part of our history.
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This caviar tastes fishy
panosbal15 October 2012
The storyline is bland and the pacing slow. The film was confusing even for native Greek so I imagine it would be even more so for the foreign viewers it is supposed to target.

Shallow characters, unimaginative writing and generally bad dialogue. The theological overtones make no sense at all. The viewer is constantly wondering why the main characters are doing what they are doing as there is virtually no character development. Some beautiful photography, however I had the feeling that half the film takes place in one room (the mansion's living room)! Overall a below average film. Reminds me on the one hand of Greek films of a (thangfully) long-gone era where the "deep meanings" and "inner thoughts" of the director were the film's "raison d'etre" and on the other cult patriotic films usually shown on national holidays in Greece.
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good intentions, great prospects, bad movie
johnmin0123 May 2013
The original matter is excellent , but the movie is bad. First of all the storyline, is not follow the historical events so the movie is not historical. The original story is much more interesting and complicated, but if the movie based exactly on history the production would be very expensive.Even thought the scenario is interesting.Is a low budget production, but some scenes looks completely unreal like to be filmed by not professionals. I think could be used old buildings instead of cheap graphics .Also, the film never shows why Varvakhs is a great benefactor for Greek and Russian people too. Better film than El Greco, but the producer should think seriously if he wants to make another historical movie without the proper funds.
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An excellent production
olympicbird30 August 2013
Against the criticism of hard nuclear people of art into the cinema theater's... This movies its a piece of art for the deepest meaning of freedom, of the real history, with excellent photography, scenario. For the cost of the creation of the movie.. you cant find nothing better into the cinema.. something else than to split the popcorn on to the floor. So.. this movie deserve congratulation for the result they create with that budget and the wonderful actors played they roles extremely nicely. I am wondering how people looking that movie depends the point of view. The point of history are annoying ? The point of the meaning are annoying? or the country are annoying.. Whatever the reason are.. I am a happy simple viewer without "special cinema knowledge" that brings me into an other era of real meanings of freedoms and life. Thanks for that.
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don't waste your money - or your time.
evelynathens21 October 2012
Possibly the worst film I've seen in the past 20-25 years. No character development - I kept wondering how Varvakis was going to contribute to Greece's War of Independence and was never really satisfied with a clear- cut answer. As already pointed out, Varvakis' daughter, when she re-enters the film as an adult (we are first introduced to her as a newborn) is so inappropriate. In age, she could easily be Varvakis' wife. Like another reviewer, although I do not generally form impressions based on looks, many actors/actresses/a couple of the children were so unattractive as to detract from the film. Seriously.

I don't think writing a script or directing a film are easy, but the people doing these jobs on this film deserve to be fired. I wish I hadn't wasted my money on this.

As per popular Greek commercial - TRAGIC.
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Best Film of the Decade!
evmorfia-papa16 January 2013
GOD LOVES CAVIAR by Iannis Smaragdis The best film I have seen in the last 10 or so years. It is a film with a lot of Soul, something that has been forgotten by all the acerbic reviews of the so called "expert critics". Having a soul means to give, listen, envision, have a purpose, be willing and loving, follow the Path of one's soul wholeheartedly, believe in one's choices and open the door to the future; a future defined by the pureness of one's vision, not giving in to the fear that lurks behind the door of arrogance… The Soul is transcendence, an act of bravery… the Leader we all hide underneath. This film fulfills all of the above and then some… It speaks to viewers without preaching, demonstrates without coercing, it follows its own journey, without caring for the "rogue winds". Without words, it allows us to see our own soul, our own vision; it enables us to peek inside a forgotten corner within us, pinpointing to us a repressed dream, reminding us of our own soul's existence by the grace of transcendence that only the intangible inside us is capable of. I go no further, for there is a richness of topics one could discuss… We take pride in the man Smaragdis as well as in the artist… A great man can be a great artist. But one cannot be an artist without firstly being human…
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Good acting, not good technically
papa_elias8914 October 2012
I will agree with tinakewy's review. The screenplay was confusing a lot. I liked the actors a lot, especially the Greeks who were very serious with their roles. They didn't look like the usual Greek actors. I also really liked the mother of Varvakis when she came down to earth to talk with him. Her expressions and her eyes were very beautiful.

I would like to mention some technical issues that I noticed. Is it possible to have Out of Focus shots? There were lots of shots like this and there weren't a screenplay reason. It was a technical mistake. Even if the budget was low, controlling Focus is a basic thing. In some cases the video editing was a bit disturbing, too. You could tell the cuts. Also, the dubbing was noticeable in some cases.

I would really like to watch a great story, a great film as a Greek. But it wasn't that great.

Thank you.
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Drivel of the highest order!
lizy2431 October 2013
The pairing of incompetence, lack of any talent whatsoever, stupidity, bad writing, half-arsed directorial effort, mediocre to bad acting and a rather interesting historical topic produced this sorry excuse of a movie presented by the Greek media as some kind of event-flick or masterpiece. But Greek audiences are aware by now of the low standards of every film director (lol) Yannis Smaragdis ever cobbled together and are not and will not be fooled again by this charlatan who thinks that a few swinging drapes in front a window stand for high art. Smaragdi go home u imbecile and leave cinema to the younger generations who lately make movies with international success compared to you who tries to suck up to the press so your non-cinematic drivel looks like something worth peoples time & money. A low point in Greek cinema history. The lowest of the low.
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Often Chaotic And In The End Frustrating
sddavis6329 August 2018
I have to confess that I am no expert on the history of either Greek, Russia or the Ottoman Empire, so I actually watched this in the hope that I might learn a little something about any or all of these subjects. Varvakis seemed an interesting subject for a bio pic. First, it's hard to really classify what he was exactly. A sailor? A pirate? A merchant? A revolutionary? Or a somewhat chaotic combination thereof? Chaotic! That's actually a word I would apply to this movie. The flow was chaotic. The story was interesting - I never had the temptation to turn it off - but it was also very hard to follow. Varvakis leaves Greece while it's under Ottoman rule and ends up as a hero in Russia after fighting for the Russians against Turkey. He becomes friends with Catherine the Great and because of her generosity he ends up as a caviar magnate, but finds himself driven to return to Greece after the Ottomans are overthrown, and in reality he did in fact became a benefactor to the new Greek government - giving much of his wealth for the cause of education. But from what little I've been able to glean of Varvakis' life there are also liberties taken with his story. That's dramatic licence and it's fine - but if you're not really familiar with the subject matter it's pretty hard to sort out fact from fiction. There are also what seem to be some bizarre theological reflections scattered throughout, and I never quite grasped what point was being made from them, except that they seemed to suggest that Varvakis was a fatalist of some sort - God has a plan and we follow it, whatever may happen.

The performances here were very good. Sebastian Koch was superb as Varvakis. Aside from him, the actors I was most familiar with were Catherine Deneuve as Catherine the Great and John Cleese as a British official who was confused about what was happening with Varvakis and sought an explanation - although I'm not convinced of the reality of Cleese's character. That narrative (along with a story being told to children by an old friend of Varvakis) were the means of driving the film forward. There was a whole plethora of Greek actors and actresses with whom I'm not personally familiar although they're presumably well known to Greek audiences.

So, the movie was interesting - but in the end frustrating, because it didn't really give me a solid grasp of exactly what was happening from a historical perspective. So - not a bad movie, just a chaotic and frustrating one. (4/10)
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