The calamity that struck a young shepherd and the daughter of a landowner who were denied the possibility of getting married due to class distinctions. A vitriolic criticism of reactionary mores in Greece of Colonels’ dictatorship, combining cruelty, amour fou and lyricism.
About this film
…A number of movies produced around the end of 1966 and with the intention of being released early the next year were not given permission by the dictatorship imposed in April 1967. Some were released after 1974 and are now considered among the best films made both for their de-centering of narrative and for their depiction of new forms of subjectivity. Among them was The Shepherds of Disaster (Oi Voskoi tis Simforas) by Nico Papatakis (1918–2010), an expatriate living in France. This was an important film with regard to its unmitigated and violent realism. A love affair in a Greek village between a shepherd and the daughter of the landlord leads to their public deaths after they elope during Easter. The film offered a ruthless representation of the oppressive family in a rural society, the class system, the hypocrisy of the Christian Church, and the internalized inferiority of the villagers. It was a powerful artistic statement of extreme and shocking realism, as the camera focused on every detail of brutal oppression and destruction, reminiscent of the Brazilian Glauber Rocha’s Marxist aesthetics, combining religion and folklore in a “revolutionary amalgam” of conflicts and contradictions…
Vrasidas Karalis, History of Greek Cinema
…Papatakis secretly crossed the border into Greece, then under the military dictatorship, to film The Shepherds of Disorder (also known as Thanos and Despina, 1967), a disturbing political allegory about a young shepherd and the daughter of a wealthy landowner who dare to question the traditional values of Greek society. The film starred Papatakis’s second wife, Olga Karlatos, with whom he was active in campaigning against the colonels…