Ants & Cicadas - Secrets & Lies
A love story set against the consequences of secrets and lies.
1975 Greek mainland Five men, Alexis, Spiros, Pannos, Vagelis and Dassus, are starting the last phase of their National Service. They have not met before. Four are purely there because they have to be. But Dassus, a bone headed giant and son of a general, sees his future in the army. He is a liability and the others cover for him repeatedly to avoid his antics compromising them. Near the end of their training he is drunk, gets in a fight, steals a car and kills a pedestrian. He demands his room mates give him an alibi or he will tell his father that one of them did it. His father has already got him out of various scrapes so they know this is possible. They agree to lie for him, and end their military service carrying the secret with them – aware that this is a court martial offence.
1979+ Christine arrives on Corfu, having just learned her brother is actually her half brother; their mother had a relationship with an Italian when young and fell pregnant with Peter. The scandal left her mother traumatised, xenophobic and overprotective. The stresses of this revelation become unbearable and Christine books a holiday to escape. She is a student with no money so stays on a campsite full of Interrailers and hippies.
Christine has lofty ideals about “not being a tourist”. She wants to find “the real Corfu” and NOT to be taken in by dangerous Lotharios. This makes her standoffish with other holidaymakers.
Spiros now runs the on-site Barbecue, Pannos runs the bar, Alexis and Vagelis happens to be visiting. Alexis seems out of place as a smartly dressed professional. She is attracted to him but prides herself on being too smart to fall for him.
Christine explores Corfu alone with mixed success, once photographing mourners at a roadside shrine for a family killed in a car accident. She relates this at the Barbecue, Spiros and Pannos overhear and fear their secret has been discovered. Alexis reveals his own traumatic history of selfharm, and why is so often in Corfu; he has family connections with the great house which stood where the campsite is now. He finally earns her trust and they become lovers.
Dassus reappears, but lurking in the shadows, spreading lies about their shared past.
Christine goes home and completes her degree. Alexis distracts himself with major projects which help himself and his three comrades, and eventually they open a taverna together – The Four Brothers. A chance happening later brings Christine back to Corfu. She stays for the summer, meeting the men (including Alexis) again. Their passions are reignited. She returns home to work as a teacher, but a sexual assault by her line manager traumatises her. She & Alexis are now in contact by letter and she goes out to Corfu. Her father and anxious mother (now sedated on Valium after a breakdown) are persuaded to come and stay, and all seems blissful. But as Christine hopes to reconcile her mother to her chosen lifestyle, Dassus appears again. Unseen by the Four Brothers, he charms Christine’s parents and takes them “on a trip” – effectively kidnapping them. He is on the run, having stolen an army jeep and killed someone. The four men plus Christine and others meet up with Dassus and her parents in an isolated taverna where Dassus becomes unhinged and violent. It takes the combined efforts of the four men and others present to overpower him – he is drunk and drives off in a car which he crashes into a tree, killing himself, thus lifting the weight of the secret from the Four Brothers.