The stage cantata David features Eleni Karaindrou’s music for a unique piece of Aegean drama, a verse play with words by an unknown 18th century poet from the island of Chios. Its text (first published only in 1979), invites a musical response and Greek composer Karaindrou rises splendidly to the challenge, imaginatively moving between past and present in her settings for mezzo-soprano and baritone singers, instrumental soloists, choir and orchestra.
Eleni Karaindrou’s collaborations with stage director Antonis Antypas have generated some of her most powerful music. Medea, like the earlier Trojan Women, comes out of this association. Recorded at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the music vibrates with emotional intensity. Karaindrou gives her themes to a small ensemble, its sound-colours creating an ambiance both archaic and contemporary, as textures of santouri, ney, lyra and clarinets are combined and contrasted.
Film composer Eleni Karaindou was born in the Greek mountain village of Teichio and raised in Athens, going on to study piano and music theory at the Hellenikon Odion. Relocating to Paris in 1969, she studied ethnomusicology for five years before returning to Greece to found the Laboratory for Traditional Instruments at the ORA Cultural Centre. Karaindrou's most successful collaboration was with filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, with whom she first teamed in 1982, going on to score features including 1991's The Suspended Step of the Stork, 1995's Ulysses' Gaze and 1998's Palme d'Or-winning Eternity and a Day. Although primarily aligned with the Greek film industry, Karaindrou also worked with noted European directors including Jules Dassin and the great Chris Marker.
Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a parallel plot line we see Nick as a young boy and his family as they struggle to survive in the occupied Greek hillside. The plot lines converge as Nick's investigations bring him closer to the answers.
A low-level triad "big brother" has a hot-tempered "little brother" who can't keep out of trouble, and consequently is in constant need of being bailed out by his protector. The "big brother" is super cool, but lacks the ambition to rise in the ranks of the triad societies - and once he meets his cousin from Kowloon and falls in love with her, he even thinks about leaving "the life".
Based on the autobiographical novel by Nicholas Gage, Eleni traces Gage's search for the truth behind the execution of his Greek mother Eleni. John Malkovich plays Gage (herein referred to only as Nick), a New York Times journalist assigned to cover a border war in Albania. Intimately familiar with his beat–it's where he grew up–Nick periodically flashes back to his childhood, and his memories of his late mother Eleni (Kate Nelligan). Not at all concerned with politics, Eleni goes to extreme lengths to shelter her children from the ravages of civil unrest. For attempting to smuggle her kids out of the country, Eleni is arrested and executed. Back in the present, Nick manages to locate local politico Katis (Oliver Cotton), the man who signed Eleni's death warrant. He wangles his way into Katis' confidence, then prepares to kill the man–but he's in for a surprise, and something of an epiphany.