CosmoteTV (greek streaming service), following in the footsteps of other worldwide streaming platforms, seeks to invest in production of its own original series, something that was successful with the two sequel series of the film entitled “Eteros Ego” (Eteros Ego – Lost souls, Eteros Ego – Katharsis). So now it is being tested in something equally ambitious – in proportion to Greek TV – and obviously quality with its new series 42°C. The new limited series of eight episodes premiered on May 14th on CosmoteTv Plus and left us with mixed impressions end emotions. Natalie Douka is the series’ creator, while the direction of the series was undertaken by George Papavasilioy and the screenplay by Sergios Konstantinides and Kallia Papadakis.
The background and at the same time the place where the events take place are the island of Corfu and the awesome house chosen for the shooting by the producers – maybe just worth it for this old mansion, and at the same time majestic, house (and landscapes) to see the series -. There, we meet a large Greek family according to traditional standards (a classic theme of Greek cinema is its deconstruction), which is experiencing its “decline”, moral and economic, as reflected metaphorically with the literal collapse of the old mansion.
Starting to watch the series, it is true that a family tree would be very useful in the material of the series, because, at least in the first two episodes, one really struggles to understand what kinship all the persons have with each other, as the script fails to clarify them for us. from the beginning in a clear way.
What confused us the most is the kinship that three specific brothers have with each other: Nikos, Lena and Anna. But let’s start from the beginning: the house belongs to three sisters Kaiti (Katerina Lechou), Maria (Betty Apostolou) -dead at the beginning of the series- and Eleni (Emily Koliandri). Quite beloved of each other, they live in the mansion with their spouses and children, so the dynamics of their relationship change as the years go by.
Katie represents and incorporates what is left of the lost glamor of their family. It is, what we would say of the old school, “to preserve the name of the family”, “what will the people say (greek idiom)” and “everything for the family”. She is a stoic figure, very strict, who sets and proposes her whims defensively, because she is unable to express herself emotionally to the rest of the family. Her eyes are literally “everywhere” and gives you the uncomfortable feeling that she is everywhere at all times and knows everything. Is she unconscious? Is it impossible to feel? Is she sensitive and full of understanding and love that she just does not express? Let each one decide for himself what is valid in the end, bearing in mind that each of us understands the meaning of love differently.
Maria, who died when the series started, left behind two daughters, Lena (Natalia Swift) and Anna (Semiramis Abatzoglou), who are quite tormented souls, radically different personalities and half-sisters, since they have a different father. Lena has a father playing the character played by Ivan Svitailo (forgive us but we do not remember his name in the series and we do not find it anywhere online, not even on the cosmote tv page), while Anna has a father named Michalis (Alexandros Logothetis). These two sisters are at the center of the story together with Lena’s half-brother (they share the same father), Nikos (Costas Nikouli), who is the apple of discord for the two sisters and whom his father has literally parked at his ex-wife’s house. The issue of incest and how the series handles it will be discussed below. The driving force of the story seems to be the suicide (?) of Anna, who is found dead exactly in the same place where her mother was found 6 years ago. The two sisters seem to bear their mother’s misfortune regarding their love life and both fulfill their fate as another self-fulfilling prophecy, since neither their mother, nor their fathers, nor anyone else ever paid attention to them. they needed.
The third sister, Eleni, lives in the mansion with her husband Markos (Theo Alexander) and her two children, Dimitris (Michail Tampakakis) and Aliki (Marielli Manoudaki). These, as more peripheral characters of the series, represent a more realistic approach to family decline and hypocrisy, which mainly occupies Katie in presenting the family with a good outward picture, when, in fact, suicides occur (?) and incubations. The realistic approach consists in their effort and pursuit to sell the mansion – the last thing that keeps them all together – something that finds Katie completely opposite.
The case of the mysterious death of Anna is being clarified by Policeman Asteriou (Christos Loulis), who together with other characters unfolds before our eyes the tangle of entanglement, corruption and trafficking on the island. At this point we should mention that, while Anna’s death is the fact that moves the story, none of her relatives show even a little emotion, a little sadness, something in this regard. Almost everyone has a blaze style like “another death in the family, okay, shall we go for a drink?” (nor the northern European dramas like that).
An awkward love for the viewer
As for the main theme of the series, namely the love between Lena and her half-brother Nikos,, the script and the dialogues suffer (some dialogues are the definition of cringe), as well as the acting of the actor who plays Nikos, who it’s a bit wooden and unnatural (as if he doesn’t believe the idiots he says). Their love is presented to us through many flashbacks as something that was born to each other naturally from a very young, pre-adolescent age, and not as a kind of teenage experimentation, but as something pure and very true for both of them. The motif of fraternal incest (and between first cousins) is known in literature and cinema both from works of pop culture such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars (the old one) as well as from classic books such as Middlesex. Jeffrey Euegenides, The 100 years of loneliness of Gabriel García Márquez etc. It is not, therefore, a taboo subject in literature and cinema, as many may think, and is often associated with the decline of the family (and the literal collapse of their ancestral home), as in Crimson Peak and The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. There is never a happy ending to such love stories between siblings, who end up fulfilling the prophecy that they are forbidden and bring only misery.
The way the protagonists of the series treat their love is at times funny and irrational. There is no need for “we are like distant cousins” rationalizations (because they are siblings and not just siblings). It would be enough for them to admit that it is what it is – something unhealthy as an idea for most of us – and as adults they will not be commanded by those around them (the problem would be essentially – beyond their psychological – to have offspring that due to of incest would be much more likely to carry some problematic genes – as happened in the House of Hapsburgs, but also in the Pharaohs). The funny thing is that they do not decide whether they want to hide it or not from those around them and whether in the end it is so difficult to keep even the pretexts. In other words, they want the whole family to accept the fact that they will never be separated. It is impossible not to laugh when Nikos, angry with Lena’s mother, who tries to separate them for the understandable and logical reason that they are half-siblings, attacks her that it is supposedly absurd (
????be cool Nikos, she is her mother and you’re siblings) and that she is actually jealous of her daughter, Lena, because Nikos fell for Lena and not her (that is, her mother) !!! Lena just looks at all this being just as irrational. From one point onwards, whenever someone dares to imply something negative about Nikos, she hangs on him in a comic way as if he will be snatched from her – but otherwise nothing is going on between them -.
The secrets of the family and the conflicts between them are slowly dissolving and the fall of their “House” is hard for some but also redemptive for others, who are now free: everyone gets what they deserve, one might say.
Instead of an epilogue
Among the interpretations that stand out are that of Katerina Lechou and Natalie Swift. The quality of the series is obvious and the subject of the story is quite ambitious, however, in the performance some interpretations and some dialogues lose it somewhere, they are incredibly absurd on the verge of joke.