I know that it has been many years since you (Christian Bale) and I (Penelope Cruz) have seen each other, but I felt that I should get in touch. I also hope that in the intervening years, you have learned to read and write. If you have not, please have someone read the letter to you, much like they did when you were on the front lines in Albania, in the early days of the War.
Before the War disrupted our idyllic, country life on the beautiful Greek Island that we grew up on, we lived a simple life. You returned home from fishing and your strapping body was too much to resist. Ah, those moments when you threw me into the water and we frolicked around together. To relive those times. I thought it was the smartest thing in the world for me to become engaged to you, before you left for the Albanian border. I was a medical student chomping at the bit for knowledge. You were an illiterate small village fisherman. It was to be a match made in heaven.
How was I to know that an Italian Captain, who could speak Greek, German and Italian, but couldn’t master his own accent, would come and turn my whole life around. Ah, that captain. Ah, that captain and his beautiful mandolin. His name, as you know, was Captain Antonio Correlli (Nicholas Cage) and I was never particularly attracted to him. If I was, I sure couldn’t let my father, Dr. Iannis (John Hurt), see it. Much to my surprise, my father seems to have wanted me to become ‘friendly’ with him. After all, he made an arrangement to get medical supplies in exchange for the Captain boarding with us. The attraction never seemed to be there, but my father waxed many platitudes about this and just about every other conceivable subject under the sun. My father is very wise.
What a fun-loving group of Italians they were. An opera signing regiment, lead by the Captain, singing opera at every chance, frolicking in the waves with the Italian women they brought with them. They were here to fight a war, but damned if they weren’t going to enjoy it as well. What a wacky bunch.
I don’t understand his attraction to me, either, but naturally when he played his little song to me on the mandolin, I fell in love. He found me in that garden that day and we made love, such good love, that I had to touch my lips many times, smiling, as I remembered his groping.
Then, of course, the allies landed in Rome and the Germans wanted to take control of the idyllic Greek island where we lived. What a terrible time. Correlli realized that the German’s would never let them go and tried to help defend out island, but… Enough of this history.
The attraction that we shared is a strange thing, I don’t really understand it, much to this day, and I must apologize again for letting it end our relationship. I am so happy that you were able to help him and he you. It means a lot to me that you embraced him as you did.
But to the point of my letter, Mandras. I need your help. Now that Correlli and I have been together for many years, I am still wrestling with the reason why. He is not attracted to me and I am not attracted to him. I mean, he waited many years after the end of the war to contact me and I have to wonder why.
He is also teaching the grandchildren Opera. He would rather they sing an Opera than to talk and discuss things, to learn. Rather than learning many operas, he insists that they sing only the most recognizable operas, like ‘Santa Lucia’.
And that accent! It drivea me uppa the wall. The man has Italian ancestors and you would have to think that someone in the family would have an Italian accent. You would think it would be easier for him to approximate the accent of his heritage.
But Mandras, I have come to learn that my father, the village doctor, that he adopted me. It turns out that my accent has always been Spanish. I thought it sounded different from everyone, but I guess I see now why. I could never explain it before.
My story, our story, is another one of those love stories that was interrupted and inconvenienced by that little thing… World War II. A pity. I wish the war had never come and I would have never met Captain Correlli and his stupid mandolin.