Saturday, July 4, 2015

"The Immigrant": Papadiamantis's First Film Adaptation

Nestoras Matsas’s film The Immigrant (1965) or Ο Mετανάστης is a movie loosely based on two short stories by Alexandros Papadiamantis, The American (1891) and Fortune from America (1901). The film belongs to the category of film adaptation called "commentary", where an original literary text is taken and either purposely or inadvertently altered in some respects. Matsas transposes the action from the 1870’s to the 1960’s and uses his literary source to propose a reflection on the work life of Greek emigrants of the post-war period. The film also has an historical value, since it is the first screen adaptation of Papadiamantis’s fiction.

It concerns the return to his native island of an emigrant to America. Everyone on the island awaits his return, imagining him as a wealthy, eligible man and generous benefactor. Instead he returns with his health broken, as a dying man.

The film is only available in the Greek language at this time.

The story, translated as 'The American', is included in 'The Boundless Garden, Selected Short Stories Vol. 1'. It also appears as 'Fortune from America' in 'Tales from a Greek Island', John Hopkins University Press.