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.
8 A Touch of Spice: Postmodern Identities and the Construction of the Other through Film Music (Nick Poulakis)
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8 A Touch of Spice: Postmodern Identities and the Construction of the Other through Film Music
In this chapter,1 I engage with the contemporary theoretical, methodological and epistemological debates in the field of (ethno)musicology, as well as other socio-anthropological sciences with reference to the politics of music (and cultural) identities.2 Since cinema is considered to be a locus of various representations and negotiations, critical film analysis can effectively portray the ways that film music contributes to the shaping and the projection of national, cultural and ethnic identity and Otherness. Through the examination of the contemporary Greek film Politiki Kouzina/A Touch of Spice (Tassos Boulmetis, 2003), this study underlines several aspects of film music practice that – in the overall context of the film – reinforce the above argument. Moreover, the chapter attempts to stress the invisible contradictions and ambiguities which disrupt the traditional filmic constructions, through an allegorical reading of the music and other elements of the film A Touch of Spice, keeping in mind Mark Slobin’s observation that ‘every ← 205 | 206 → film is ethnographic, and every soundtrack acts like an ethnomusicologist’.3 Thus, new questions for this film may arise from an attempt to critically intervene, dialectically respond and ‘read against the grain’, as cultural anthropologist Steven Caton would suggest.4 Is the intention of the film to balance between the opposing forces which it alleges? Is the film able to move between them? Which are the distances kept and what are...
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