Zorba the Greek: Avoid the Film, Avoid Crete


Sean Gabb

Like many “classics of the cinema”, this film is best avoided by anyone who just wants to be entertained. The film itself is boring. And the portrayal of Cretan culture has put me so much off the island that I never plan to go there again. Most peasant cultures are vile. Cretan peasant culture is probably about as vile as Sicilian. Search me why the Turks so wanted to hold onto the place.

Next time I have a choice between Zorba the Greek and some black and white film in Swedish about lesbians dying of consumption, I’ll take the latter.

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9 responses to “Zorba the Greek: Avoid the Film, Avoid Crete

  1. Crete is nice, great people, like the Cypriots, they like us instinctively: please, Sean do NOT forget you visceral Geography-programme which ALL Englishmen possess.

    Please, Sean,I am really really trying to set up the scenario for the English Libertarian Kingdom or whatever it may ultimately be called. On my Map. we NEED the Cretans, the Sicillians, the Maltese (pllease don’t offend them yet!) the Algerians (I’d give at LEAST a million Ducats for those!)

    I also would like to have the Russians on-side, which means that you must not annoy the Turks. Which is to say: whatever the current buggers are that are occupying Istambul. Please ask you good friend Richard Blake about how not to annoy these people for my Foreign Ministry!

  2. Sorry about the typos!

  3. Zorba has to be seen in its mid 1960s context. Sometimes I get miniscule flashbacks of what life was like then, and it is almost inconceivable. Things were so much more stilted and that was NORMAL. We desperately sought to escape it and we were cool, baby. And a whole load of sensibilities have come about that just did not exist and/or would have been considered kooked.
    There were some good ones but they mainly were around somewhat kinky sex I’m afraid. Cul de Sac was one. Also Les Biches. But I expect if I was to see them now I would be mortified.
    Perhaps the only timeless classic was The Trial?

  4. Apologies for the errors and hyperbole. I was a bit tight after some Xmas bubbly, when I wrote that.

  5. I don’t know about “Zorba the Greek”, never having met him, or watched his movie. Was it just an excuse for some ethnic dancing to concertinas when cinema-goers thought this was fashionable?

    But I recommend getting clever Greek Cypriots to help you on your game-show team.

  6. It was made at that time when White Anglo Saxons were desperate to be free (a good objective) and rejoiced in anything that smacked of raw nature and peasant culture. At a time when the West thought that nothing could seriously challenge what we all knew to be good and great and true and right, and that civilised norms would prevail. Because they did, eventually. Or so they told us in the movies.
    However that had blinded those searching for that thing which Oliver Twist, sorry I mean Jamie Oliver might identify as that bit of passionate Mediterranean cooking, or city slickers would call being “. . passionate about . .” where passion has absolutely zilch to do with it, more like being clever, or expensive, or both. Yes, sorry, that had blinded those who thought nothing could go seriously wrong with civilisation, whereas, of course, it/they could. And that raw nature bites.
    Anthony Quinn allows the girl he has persuaded Bates to bed, to be murdered behind his back. Okay she is probably knifed but the feeling is more like she is stoned by the mob. And Quinn just walks away allowing nature to be nature.

  7. I wandered into the LA website after surfing for some time. Quite intrigued, I landed on this blog only to find this post – characterised by immature reasoning, and gross generalisation about Cretans and ‘peasant culture’ – grow up!

  8. I am at a loss as to the purpose of this post. “Most peasant cultures are vile”?

    Thanks for that Sean. There’s nothing like making libertarians look like a bunch of arrogant snobs to encourage support, is there?

    I think it might be helpful for everyone to get their heads around the idea that if we ever get a libertarian society, it isn’t going to be anything like England before the Great War.

  9. My feeling is that taking oneself half seriously and talking percentile rubbish is less dangerous to the planet or madam’s mental health than uttering serious self important gorestyle delusion OR the lathering of swearing found on many libertarian blogs.
    I may be an ass but the lady doth protest too much methinks.