This collection of new writing on contemporary Greek cinema builds and expands on existing work in the field, providing a coherent analysis of films which, despite their international importance, have so far received limited critical attention. The volume maps key trends in Greek cinema since the 1990s within the wider context of production and consumption at both national and international levels. It offers a wide range of critical analyses of documentary and avant-garde filmmaking, art house and popular cinema, and the work of established and new directors as well as deliberations on teaching methodologies and marketing strategies. The book seeks to highlight the continuities, mutual influences and common contexts that inform, shape and inspire filmmaking in Greece today.
12 The ‘New Greek Cinema’ before the ‘Greek New Wave’: The Case of The Only Journey of his Life (Erato Basea)
Erato Basea 12 The ‘New Greek Cinema’ before the ‘Greek New Wave’: The Case of The Only Journey of his Life Introduction Several years have passed already since the remarkable journey of Kynodontas/Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009) across the world: the film participated in numerous film festivals, triggered critical acclaim and received various awards (including the prestigious Un Certain Regard at Cannes). Above all, Dogtooth is now considered as a prescient glimpse of a cultural blooming in Greek cinema or what critics have called ‘Greek New Wave’.1 This chapter returns to the early 2000s, that is well before the Greek New Wave was formed, in order to focus on To Monon tis Zois tou Taxeidion/The Only Journey of his Life (2001), Lakis Papastathis’s film adaptation of Georgios M. Vizyenos’s short story of the same title (1884). A film and cultural studies reading of the film and its reception intends to show that this adaptation represents a privileged moment of reflexivity about the kind of national, high art and auteur cinema that was consecrated and consolidated in early 2000s Greece. As will be argued, the adaptation is both a biopic and meeting point of two authors: Papastathis, a firmly established auteur in contemporary Greek culture, who associated his name with the ‘New Greek Cinema’ of 1 Erato Basea, ‘The “Greek Crisis” through the Cinematic and Photographic Lens: From “Weirdness” and Decay to Social Protest and Civic Responsibility’, Visual Anthropology Review 32 (2016), Special issue: Uncertain Visions. Crisis, Ambiguity, and Visual Culture in...
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