Never on Sunday (1960) is a Greek and English language film directed by Jules Dassin, starring Melina Mercouri and himself. Melina Mercouri was nominated for an Oscar and won the Cannes Film Festival prize for best actress for her role as Ilya, "the prostitute with no price." I never fully understood what was meant by "no price." I assume it meant that she does get paid for her work, but only by the men she chooses to...uh...work for/with. Ilya is a charming character. Everyone loves her and probably because she loves everyone. Her spirit is joyful, she's beautiful inside and out and her only enemy is the man who forces the other "working girls" to pay ludicrously high rent. I like this story more than the story found in Pretty Woman (1990), because in this story, the woman isn't rescued from her life. I don't know how to feel about the whole prostitution bit. Generally, I don't think of a prostitute as a happy person with a full life, good friends and a good roof over her head, but in this story, that is exactly what this...fille de joie is. When an American man named Homer (played by Dassin) comes along in the hopes of "saving" her from immorality, he tries to play Pygmalion. What I like here is that the woman wins. She's a powerful person, and truly grabs life by the jugular, living it and seeing it the way she wants to. She loves going to the theatre to see the Greek tragedies but in retelling the stories later, she twists them from her perspective so that they all end happily with the line, "and they all went to the seashore!" This woman is optimism, and love embodied and though she expresses it in ways that some would be incapable of understanding, one important line explains the message perfectly. "If anyone will save Ilya, it's Tonio." "Why Tonio?" "Because with love, it is possible."
I hate to give the movie away, but this scene is priceless. Here, Ilya discovers that Homer has been playing the Taming of the Shrew card with her. There's a man or two in the world I would LOVE to chase around a room with a broomstick whilst raising hell. In other words: I like this scene a lot.