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Monday July 28, 2014
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An Unforgettable Summer

 

continued

who had taken it from the Greeks, who took it from the Turks. Kristin Scott Thomas is gorgeous and terrific — as always — in the role of Marie-Therese von Debretsy, the daughter of a Romanian attaché, raised in England, and recently married to Petre Dumitriu, a Romanian officer who once rescued her from being raped by Romanian troops. The young couple are stationed at a remote military outpost, where the Romanian army is assigned to ward off Bulgarian or Macedonian rebels who want to regain the region.

Marie-Therese tries to maintain a cheerful family life for her three small children while witnessing the horrific details of political turmoil and military careerism carried out in her own backyard. One night a group of bandits attack, kill, and mutilate eight Romanian soldiers. In response the Romanians round up ten Bulgarian peasants (one of them a Turk mistakenly identified as Bulgarian) and detain them in the yard of the officer's home, where they are ordered to work the small kitchen garden while awaiting their fate. The men's wives huddle in a nearby field, fearful for their husbands but powerless to intervene.

Marie-Therese's husband has been ordered by his superiors — off the record — to shoot the detained men. The Bulgarians claim the bandits were Macedonians, that they themselves had nothing to do with the massacre. Meanwhile, Marie-Therese's children play with the men in the garden. She serves them wine, pays them for their work, and congratulates them on the fruits of their labor — the sumptuous salads that grace her dinner table every night.

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