Do you remember Melina Mercouri?

I do, now… but I only reconnected with her a couple of years ago when a colleague at work reminded me of her.  You see, my colleague’s name is Melina… but I kept calling her Mélanie, a popular name in Québec. One day, I stupidly asked her, “Why did your mother call you Melina?”  Her answer?  “Because she was a fan of Melina Mercouri!”  GOT IT!  Of course!  I never had trouble with her name again.

I recently saw Mercouri’s most famous film, Never on Sunday.  Melina plays Ilia, a prostitute who schedules the local men and sailors by the hour.  To be honest, it’s shocking.  This is nowhere near the Shirley MacLaine depiction of a sweet, innocent prostitute in Irma La Douce.  This is a gutsy, fleshy woman who sets her own prices and chooses the men she’ll sleep with.  Early in the movie she turns down a better offer simply because she didn’t like the higher bidder.  Today, they couldn’t make such a movie.  They couldn’t get the funding.  And, the feminists would march down main street.  Odd that a movie that came out in 1960 would be too racy for today’s sensibilities.  Of course, today, violence is everywhere… big screens and small. And Kim Kardashian’s butt is ubiquitous.  Who knew that fat could be sucked out of the abdomen and injected into one’s behind!  I don’t mean to be cynical but I find great irony in the advances of the #MeToo movement at the same time as Kylie Jenner is worth almost a billion, largely due to her lip plumping products.

I viewed Never on Sunday recently and there are perfume bottles in Ilia’s bedroom but I couldn’t identify them (look to the table on the left of the video below).  Maybe Femme by Rochas?  And so, I wondered… what would Ilia have worn?  A leather?  Maybe.  Not a floral, maybe a rose chypre.  Ambers would be an obvious answer.  Woods?  Maybe an eau de cologne… citrusy.  No.  I’m stumped.  Any ideas?

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  1. Teodora

     /  October 8, 2018

    Musk? (Carnal flower) Or Prunus amygdalus:Dior Hypnotic poison or Gloria Cacharel? A 60’s perfume? All hypothetical. Don’t really know any… Nice post! I believe #MeToo can be one dimensional and one directional. Life and women are more complex… what about Glenn Close in “The Wife”: what perfume would suit her?

    • I’ve never seen The Wife. I’m not sure. But Carnal Flower is a possibility… a great big man-eating tuberose. Thanks for the comment!


  2. Tara C

     /  October 8, 2018

    Maybe Fracas or Tabac Bond? Never saw the movie, but a woman of such strong character would surely pick something bold and distinstive.

  3. gaylefeyrer

     /  October 8, 2018

    It’s been too long since I’ve seen that film, though I do remember it. You should see the new blu ray of Phaedra, which has the most gorgeous love scene ever filmed. I don’t know what perfume I’d give her, maybe Parfum Sacre.

  4. From FiveOaksBouquet : Yes, it’s Femme de Rochas. That’s what the vintage bottle looked like and later bottles are very similar. Perfect scent for Ilia! I wonder if it was really Mercouri’s perfume or just a prop.


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