Time and Space in Contemporary Greek-Cypriot Cinema

by Lisa Socrates (Author)
©2015 Monographs XII, 281 Pages
Series: New Studies in European Cinema, Volume 18


Why does the 1974 war in Cyprus remain so dominant in Greek-Cypriot cinema? How has this event shaped the imagination of contemporary filmmakers, and how might one define the new national cinema that has emerged as a result? This book explores such questions by analysing a range of Greek-Cypriot films that have hitherto received little or no critical discussion.
The book adopts a predominantly conceptual approach, situating contemporary Greek-Cypriot cinema within a specific cultural and national context. Drawing on the work of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and particularly his theories of time and space, the author explores ways in which Greek-Cypriot directors invent new forms of imagery as a way of dealing with the crisis of history, the burden of memory and the dislocation of the island’s abandoned spaces.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • The 1974 War
  • Ideology, Nationalism, Conflict
  • The Cyprus Problem
  • Structure
  • Scope
  • Part I Nation, Identity, History
  • Chapter 1: Reading Greek-Cypriot Cinema: Deleuze and New Cinema
  • Emerging Cinema
  • Deleuze and New Cinema
  • New Images
  • Cinema as ‘conceptual practice’
  • Real Spaces
  • Deterritorialization
  • Divided Spaces
  • Time and the Historical Event
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2: Conceptualizing Greek-Cypriot Cinema
  • Cinema and ‘Nation’
  • State Cinema and the Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee
  • ‘Nation-Building’
  • Small ‘Nation’ Cinema: ‘This is a small country man!’
  • Conceptual Territory
  • The Bounded Spaces of Greek-Cypriot Cinema
  • A Counter-Reading of the ‘Nation’s’ Time and Space
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3: Contesting the Nation’s Narrative Space and Time: The Akamas Controversy
  • Akamas as ‘modern political cinema’
  • Akamas, a Real Space
  • Akamas and State Cinema
  • The Contested Scene
  • Heroes and Traitors
  • Contested History
  • ‘The Hidden Ground of Time’
  • In Time
  • Collective Remembering and the ‘memory of a small nation’
  • ‘Sheets of Past’
  • Conclusion
  • Part II Division, Memory, Time
  • Chapter 4: Shattered Spaces and the Recollection-Image
  • Memory and Disconnected Spaces
  • Refugees and ‘Home’
  • Espresso: Unifying Fragmented Spaces
  • Duration and the Recollection-Image
  • Layering Actual and Virtual Images
  • Mnemonic Landscapes
  • Landscapes of Glory and Mourning
  • Grade IV: I Do not Forget
  • Echoes of Time
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5: The Time-Image and Beyond: From Duration to the Crisis-Image
  • The Time-Image
  • The Third Time-Image and the Paradox of ‘Before’ and ‘After’
  • Digital Images and Philosophical Importance
  • Photographic Traces
  • Traces of Time
  • Invisible Time, Unfolding Duration
  • Recapturing Lost Time
  • Time Passing and Past Time: Home, Sweet Hope
  • Layers of Time
  • ‘Fixing Time’
  • Inhabiting Reel/Real Time
  • The Episode and Cinematic Time
  • Past Image, Future Time
  • Duration and the Shot
  • Beyond Duration: The Crisis-Image
  • Mobile Photography
  • Conclusion
  • Part III Spaces, Movement, Unity
  • Chapter 6: Constructing Heterotopias in Film: Parallel Spaces and Undesirable Bodies in Kalabush
  • Film and Heterotopias
  • ‘The Carnival is Over’
  • Parallel Spaces and Undesirable Bodies
  • Real and Imaginary Spaces
  • Power, Confinement, Exclusion
  • Economic Spaces
  • ‘This is a small country man!’
  • Locating Heterotopias
  • Framing Heterotopias
  • Inside/Outside
  • Seeing from the Outside
  • Sounds of the Outside
  • ‘We do not exist for them’
  • Concluding Comments: ‘We are great people’
  • Chapter 7: The Border, Movement and Chronotopic-Images
  • 2003: New Landscapes
  • Bakhtin’s Chronotope and Cinema
  • Deleuze, Bakhtin and Cinematic Space
  • Post-Border Films
  • Part I
  • Pre-Border Films: Crossings and Encounters
  • Roads and Oranges: Crossing Space and Time
  • Part II
  • Border Images: Two Spaces
  • Framing Spaces
  • Kaan & Michalis: The Journey
  • On-Screen/Off-Screen
  • Unifying Narrative Spaces
  • ‘Movement is present, the act of covering’
  • Visions of Unity
  • Sharing an Island
  • ‘Time stopped’
  • New Images
  • Conclusion
  • New Spaces
  • Real Spaces and Deleuze
  • Film Festival Spaces
  • New Time, New Images
  • Bibliography
  • Books
  • Chapters in Books
  • Articles in Journals, Periodicals and Newspapers
  • Websites
  • Filmography
  • Index
  • Series Index

| vii →


Figure 3.1 A member of EOKA in disguise before identifying a ‘traitor’ in church. Akamas, Panicos Chrysanthou, Cyprus, 2006.

Figure 3.2 Greek-Cypriots go in search of Rhodou and Omeris, who have married and eloped to his village. Akamas, Panicos Chrysanthou, Cyprus, 2006.

Figure 4.1 ‘Stamp wallpaper’ depicting war refugees. Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou <http://www.lialapithi.com>, 2008.

Figure 4.2 ‘Panorama of Pentadaktylos’, the mountain range, photo printed on plexiglass, 150 × 2000 cm. Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou, <http://www.lialapithi.com>, Cyprus, 2010.

Figure 4.3 ‘Monuments of Glory and Mourning’, photo series of landmarks and monuments in Nicosia. Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou <http://www.lialapithi.com>, 2008.

Figure 4.4 A schoolboy writing lines in an after school detention. Grade IV: I Do not Forget, Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou, <http://www.lialapithi.com>, Cyprus, 2007.

Figure 5.1 Close-up of the clock in the abandoned airport. Time has stood still since 1974. Airport for Sale, Simon Farmakas, Cyprus, 2007.

Figure 5.2 A Greek-Cypriot soldier is captured by an enemy soldier. Absent, Simon Farmakas, Cyprus, 2009.

Figure 5.3 Abandoned aeroplane on the runway. Nicosia Airport. Airport for Sale, Simon Farmakas, Cyprus, 2007. ← vii | viii →

Figure 5.4 ‘Three Journeys in Cyprus and the Mediterranean: Journey 1’. Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou, <http://www.lialapithi.com>, Cyprus, 2006.

Figure 6.1 Mustapha puts on a Disney mask to hide in the carnival crowd. Kalabush, Adonis Florides and Theodoros Nicolaides, Cyprus, 2003.

Figure 7.1 Michalis crossing the UN border from the south of the island. Kaan & Michalis, Maria and Lefcos Clerides, Cyprus, 2007.

Figure 7.2 Michalis filming all the new things he sees on the other side of the island. Kaan & Michalis, Maria and Lefcos Clerides, Cyprus, 2007.

| ix →


This book has enjoyed a long gestation, extending back to research periods in Cyprus in the early 1990s. With successive visits, in some cases after a considerable absence, I became aware of profound changes to the creative and physical landscape. Yet, the political problems facing this island and its communities have prevailed. A buffer zone has been there since 1964, guarded by United Nations Peacekeeping forces to prevent inter-communal violence. Nicosia remains the only divided city in Europe. From a restaurant in one of its suburbs, I remember looking out at the cityscape and noticing the proximity of the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot sides. Minarets and Greek Orthodox churches competitively sculpt the landscape of Nicosia.

Nearly a decade on, in 2009, I traversed the entire length of Ledra Street in Nicosia. This was made possible by the partial lifting of the UN buffer zone in 2003. In 2011, I made the journey to Pyla, near Larnaca, a mixed village of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, because I was then permitted to cross the green line. These journeys across a formerly divided territory influenced my understanding of how facets of time and space give form and meaning to our experience of the world. In particular, I wanted to understand why they continue to be intimately connected within the national context of Cyprus.

This book explores the intrinsic qualities of cinema that facilitate the exploitation of cinematic time and space and give them material shape. It questions how historical time, in the aftermath of the 1974 war, transformed the living spaces on the island and fuelled a new cinematic imagination. Two themes run through this book: cinema as movement and space, and cinema as the manifestation of time and memory. Gilles Deleuze and his two volumes on film images – Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (1983) and Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1985) – shape the conceptual journey of this book. ← ix | x →

This project would never have been realized without the support and encouragement of many individuals. Lee Grieveson, at University College London, was responsive to my doctoral thesis on post-1974 Greek-Cypriot cinema out of which this book has grown. Claire Thomson has been an outstanding doctoral supervisor with honest and inspiring feedback at various stages of my work. Stephen M. Hart welcomed my request to host a day of Cypriot Film Screenings as part of the established UCL Festival of the Moving Image in November 2009. It was exciting to host the Cypriot screenings as part of this Bloomsbury event. Stephen M. Hart was generous to offer the technical expertise of the UCL Film Society on the day.

Financial support from the Cultural Service of the Ministry of Education in Cyprus facilitated air tickets for filmmakers from Cyprus who attended the festival at UCL and took part in a panel discussion. Thank you to Elias Demetriou, Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou and Yianna Americanou for being there. Niki Katsaouni, from the Cyprus High Commission in London, introduced the event with passion and enthusiasm. Her ongoing support for this project is keenly felt. Elena Christodoulidou, President of the Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee, and her colleague Nikita Diomedes took the trouble of couriering the 35 mm version of Kalabush for the festival. Eleni Papadopoulou, who looks after the film archive at the Ministry of the Interior’s Press and Information Office in Cyprus, was patient and generous with her time during my research visit in July/August 2011. This opportunity enabled me to view a good many films to which I would otherwise not have had access. The Graduate Research Award from UCL made this important visit possible through its funding.

I would like to thank Stavros Papageorgiou at Tetraktys Productions in Cyprus, for his insights into the audio-visual industry, and for his permission to share our e-mail communication with the reader. The exchange of ideas with the following filmmakers at various stages of writing this book has proved invaluable: Adonis Florides, Christos Georgiou, Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou, Panicos Chrysanthou and Simon Farmakas. I thank Simon Farmakas, Lia Lapithi Shukuroglou and Christos Georgiou for their kind permission to include our e-mail discussions about their filmmaking. Giorgos Koukoumas and Irena Ioannides kindly uploaded their films especially on YouTube, ensuring that I could review them. Thank you to ← x | xi → Adonis Florides for sending me a DVD copy of Kalabush in 2008, his essay ‘Constructing Heterotopias in Film’, his ideas on ‘Cypriot’ filmmaking in Cyprus after 1974 and a copy of his screenplay for Rosemary. At Peter Lang, I want to thank all the following, for their patience and their faith in this project: Laurel Plapp, Wendy Everett and Axel Goodbody. Finally, the support of my family, Nick, Chloe, Marcus, George and Christina has been with me throughout the writing of this book, and also the memory of my very dear late father.

London, October 2014

| 1 →


As an event, the 1974 war marks a watershed in the history of modern Cyprus. It has transformed the island’s physical spaces, forcing them into a new relationship with time. This book explores how Greek-Cypriot cinema post-1974 offers its own responses to the war, an important moment of cultural development that continues to evolve. In Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Benedict Anderson observes that communities ‘are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined’.1 Why has film become a predominant ‘style’ that represents the experiences of this war and political conflict?

In 1990 I took my first research trip to Nicosia, Cyprus, where I met many poets, writers and literary critics, all of whom were concerned with themes of the 1974 war. Many had started writing as the conflict unfolded so that by the early 1990s a tradition of Greek-Cypriot literature was in the making. Literary production within the Greek-Cypriot community unfolded distinctive themes with poetry emerging at a prolific rate. George Moleskis, a poet and literary critic, has written extensively of his experiences of dislocation as a war refugee who was forced to leave his home in the north of Cyprus.2 Subsequently he felt the loss of his cherished collection of books because, unlike the memories of his home, this was irreplaceable.3

In comparison to the literary responses, it would take two decades for the war to be visualized on the cinematic screen with any comparable momentum. Cinematic responses were delayed due to many factors ← 1 | 2 → including the collaborative nature of filmmaking, the lengthy production process, the range of human and financial resources it demands and not least in significance, the absence of a film funding system, state assisted or otherwise, in Cyprus. This came in 1994. It is not coincidental that the arrival of a new generation of filmmakers in the mid-1990s witnessed the increased output in film production within the Greek-Cypriot community. The lack of film and art schools in Cyprus after 1974 meant that students had studied in acclaimed filmmaking schools abroad.

All these aspects are testimony to the ways in which cinema gives us a representation of that which has already taken place. As Gilles Deleuze observes in his second volume on cinema: ‘It is a mistake to think of the cinematographic image as being by nature in the present’.4 For the generation whose childhood was affected by the war at first hand, cinema became a powerful medium in which to explore these experiences, which they were attempting to understand retrospectively. This book is a study of the formation of a new European cinema that emerged in reaction to political conflict and war. What were the political events in 1974 that shaped this new cinema?

The 1974 War


XII, 281
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (January)
National cinema Gilles Deleuze Imagery Historical crisis Cultural context
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. XII, 281 pp., 13 coloured ill.

Biographical notes

Lisa Socrates (Author)

Lisa Socrates is a PhD candidate at University College London. She has published articles on Greek-Cypriot national cinema and identity and has translated Greek-Cypriot poetry from Modern Greek into English.


Title: Time and Space in Contemporary Greek-Cypriot Cinema
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