Papakaliatis’s An…/ What If… (2012) belongs to a trend identified by Skopeteas (2005: 147) as ‘postmodernist mainstream Greek Cinema’, which involves the use of intertextual allusion (Skopeteas 2005: 129), while it is also characterized by nostalgia, identified by Tziovas (1993: 259) as one of the characteristics of Greek postmodernism. In What If… both these elements serve a conservative/reactionary ideological function, especially in the way gender relations, but also class and the Greek crisis are represented in Papakaliatis’s film. ... More
According to Fredric Jameson,
Burke’s problem as he confronted […] the sublime was to find some explanation [...] not for our aesthetic pleasure in […] “beauty”, in what could plausibly gratify the human organism on its own scale, but rather for our aesthetic delight in spectacles which would seem symbolically to crush human life and to dramatize everything which reduces the individual human being and the individual subject to powerlessness and nothingness (2016: 235).
Assessing this particular aesthetic experience, Jameson continues, Burke identified a particular connection to being as essential, detecting an ontological link, glimpses of a force that transcends human life. Through the sublime, the subject encounters a barely detectible force, one that generates a sense of acute vulnerability (2016: 236). ... More
A conversation with the filmmaker Dimitris Athanitis
The cinema of Dimitri Athanitis may be identified with a personal vision of Athens. In his films the city is never named but is revealed as a source of multiple histories. The heroes of his films are in many respects expressions of this city. Moreover, Athanitis’s heroes give the impression to the viewer that they are “thrown” in the city -in accordance to the heideggerian “thrown-in-the world”- with their sole goal to seek salvation in it. His heroes are captured in a city that at times may be presented as a prison, as is the case in the sci-fi version of Athens in No Sympathy for the Devil (Athanitis, 1997) or in Three Days of Happiness (Athanitis, 2011). The representation of the city, in its correlation to the world of the dead, may also be a gigantic metaphor for modern life as it happens in Invisible (Athanitis, 2015). This is why Athanitis’s cinema may be described as dark, and sometimes as dystopian. ... More
The appreciation of Greek cinema outside Greece in the recent years, as well as the screening of Greek films in numerous international film festivals around the world (as for instance in Cannes Film Festival, and Venice Film Festival, among others) has resulted in an increase in the demand of Greek films abroad. Ireland is a country that is proving to be fascinated by Greek cinema: Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF), the largest film festival in the country, has hosted a series of Greek films in the past, especially after the emergence of the Greek Weird Wave, but also, the Dublin Greek Film Festival is bringing Greek films to Ireland for the past four years. ... More
With The Queer Greek Weird Wave, Marios Psaras, independent film scholar and filmmaker, contributes to an exponentially rich body of monographs and collective works that concentrate on visual culture, particularly on the field of film text analysis. Psaras’s text is part of the Palgrave Macmillan book series marketed under the title Representing Cultural Change and Crisis, which includes Davina Quinlivan’s Filming the Body: Trauma, Healing and Hopefulness (2015); Gwendolyn Audrey Foster’s Disruptive Feminisms: Raced, Gendered, and Classed Bodies in Film (2016); Kaitlynn Mendes and Kumarini Silva’s Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture (2015); and Eleftheria Arapoglou, Yiorgos Kalogeras and Jopi Nyman’s Racial and Ethnic Identities in the Media (2016). The aforementioned projects are among many others that reveal a shift toward the study of cinema as both a product and an agent of change during times of economic precarity, social fragmentation, and instability. ... More
Θα αντισταθώ στον πειρασμό να δω το λογοτεχνικό έργο του Νίκου Νικολαΐδη μέσα από το κινηματογραφικό του και θα επιχειρήσω μια πιο τυπική τοποθέτηση του έργου του στο λογοτεχνικό πεδίο και στη λογοτεχνική παράδοση. Θα τον αντιμετωπίσω δηλαδή ως λογοτέχνη.
Όσο ξεχωριστός κι αν είναι ένας δημιουργός, όσο ριζοσπαστικός ή ιδιοσυγκρασιακός, πάντοτε βρίσκεται σε ισχυρή σύνδεση με την εποχή του. Μπορεί η δράση των έργων του Νικολαΐδη να τοποθετείται στη δεκαετία του ’50 και του ’60, με το ροκ εν ρολ, τη τζαζ, το σινεμά και τα πολιτισμικά σύμβολα της εποχής, όμως τα έργα γράφονται στη μεταπολίτευση. Για παράδειγμα, αν και τα Γουρούνια στον Άνεμο (1992) διαδραματίζονται εν μέσω Χούντας, ο πατέρας του ήρωα είναι αριστερός που κατέληξε βολεμένος δημόσιος υπάλληλος· ο δε ήρωας ένας ανερμάτιστος αντισυστημικός των Εξαρχείων. Ο Νικολαΐδης στο έργο του είναι πάντα καχύποπτος απέναντι στην Αριστερά, σαρκάζει όποτε μπορεί για τους κουλτουριάρηδες αντιστασιακούς της Χούντας κ.ο.κ. Πρόκειται για μια στάση που διακρίνει και επικρίνει τη συστημοποίηση και ιδεολογική κυριαρχία της γενιάς του Πολυτεχνείου κατά την πασοκική δεκαετία του ’80 και του ’90. ... More
Shot and set in the 1980s, Giorgos Panousopoulos’s Mania (1985) is perhaps not one of this period’s (or this director’s) most characteristic films – not even within the framework of New Greek Cinema. Yet, it constitutes a fascinating piece of filmmaking, which works on a number of levels, and it seems to be slowly regaining the recognition it deserves. The film tells the tale of an incident in the life of Zoe Spyropoulou (played by Alessandra Vanzi and voiced by Aspasia Kralli) on the day of the Ascension. Zoe is a computer expert working for the multinational corporation IBS. Described by one of her superiors as being “monstrously rational”i, early on in the film she is notified that she will be relocated to Chicago for a period of 90 days, during which she will be given further training, as she is believed to be among the company’s most gifted employees in her field of expertise. Returning home, she consents to her daughter’s pleas for a visit to the National Garden, which is situated in the very centre of Athens. There, while studying the print off of a computer-generated psychological profile that has been handed to her by the company, Zoe unintentionally overhears a man, who appears to be the Garden’s janitor (Aris Retsos), talking to a group of visiting children (Zoe’s daughter included) about a supposed hole that leads to a tunnel running under the whole city, and about a fairy who can walk through the hole and into the Garden’s premises at any given time. ... More
Μία νύχτα ονειρεύτηκα ότι θα γινόμουν τεράστια, τόσο τεράστια που το σπίτι γύρω μου εξερράγη και διαλύθηκε σε μικρά κομματάκια τριγύρω και έξαφνα βρέθηκα να περπατώ σε πυκνό δάσος
(Louise Bourgeois, “Dans la maison de Louise”)
Ο χώρος παίζει σημαντικό ρόλο και είναι υπεύθυνος για την κατασκευή του θηλυκού υποκειμένου και την έμφυλη υποκειμενικότητα και ταυτότητα. Η μελέτη του φύλου και του χώρου ή η μελέτη του φύλου του χώρου επηρεάζεται από τις προσεγγίσεις κατασκευής της ταυτότητας άλλων πεδίων, όπως αυτών της γεωγραφίας, της ανθρωπολογίας, των πολιτισμικών σπουδών, της θεωρίας του κινηματογράφου, των θεατρικών σπουδών, της ιστορίας της τέχνης, της ψυχανάλυσης, της φιλοσοφίας ή των πολιτικών ταυτότητας (identity policies) και υπ’ αυτή την έννοια φέρει έντονα διεπιστημονικά χαρακτηριστικά. Τα πεδία αυτά ασχολούνται επίσης με τον χώρο, την αναπαράστασή του, καθώς και τις χωρικές μεταφορές, όμως όχι με τον τρόπο με τον οποίο έχει θεσπιστεί αυτός κατά παράδοση από την ιστορία και την αρχιτεκτονική –δηλαδή ως χώρος των σχεδιασμένων από αρχιτέκτονες κτιρίων– αλλά έτσι όπως αυτός βρίσκεται, χρησιμοποιείται και μετασχηματίζεται από την καθημερινή χρήση αυτών που τον κατοικούν. ... More
No Sympathy for the Devil: A critical topography of the future
The blog post discusses the filmmaker’s use of two key elements in the film’s narrative: firstly, the adaptation of the classical myth of Orpheus and Eurydice that is being set in a near future, and secondly, the construction of a futuristic city by using the materials of the present (1997). I shall examine how the director uses the hidden city as scenery for the adaptation of the aforementioned myth. Moreover, I shall present the characteristics that compose the film’s futuristic symphony, such as scenery and sound. Finally, I shall examine how and why the filmmaker creates an opposition between the visible and the invisible, darkness and light, and in what way those concepts are empowered by the film’s black and white photography. In the first part of the post I discuss the adaptation of the myth as well as the dialectics of darkness and light that are present in the film in many ways. In the second part I examine the film’s urban imagery and the filmmaker’s construction of the futuristic city. ... More
Growing up as a child of first-generation Greek-Australian migrants had countless privileges. But being different from the dominate white demographic was something I did not look too favourably upon, at that time anyway. Whiteness was all over Australian television screens as programmes were mostly British or American imports, with some Australian soaps, drama series or entertainment shows, so it was difficult to feel anything other than different. But when sitcom Acropolis Now (1989–1992) came on Australian TV, I found I could relate to and identify with the on-screen characters, for the very first time. They were mostly working-class, second-generation Greek-Australians – the children of Greek migrants to Australia, and I saw a reflection of my own culture, history, family and difference, which was enormously important for my teenage sense of identity and cultural belonging.
This self-reflexive approach of writing about Acropolis Now, is as important a subject now as it was then. Back then, the show was like a companion, a good friend who would come to visit once a week in small, white, country town Australia. What is more, it came with an imagined community of thousands of other second-generation Greek-Australians who, like me, were trying to make sense of the world and where to fit in it, particularly given we were “white,” but also considered ethnically different. Revisiting the show years later was like reuniting with an old friend, only to discover we had both moved on. What follows is a brief account of this friendship. ... More