Revisiting Film Melodrama brings forth pioneering French and English-speaking approaches from internationally known experts as well as by young researchers, aiming to broaden the research area through new historical and aesthetic perspectives. Indeed, film melodrama has too often been under-estimated, most surveys having essentially focused on the audience’s emotions and on excessive representations, often neglecting the complexities of the «melodramatic mode». More than ever, melodrama as film genre requires a comprehensive, multi-layered re-appraisal which includes references to the genre at work on television, animation and the internet.
1960s Greek Meló: A Despised Genre (Olga Kourelou)
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The 1960s are considered the ‘Golden Years’ in the history of Greek cinema. During this decade, Greek film production witnessed an unprecedented growth despite its ‘cottage industry’ character. With an average output of 100 films per year, the Greek film industry was on a par not only with the leading European countries in film production,1 but also with other buoyant national industries, like the one in India as critics observed at the time.2 Dovetailing with the rise in film production was a parallel increase in cinema attendance, as well as in the number of both standard and open-air film theatres around the country.3 Indeed, cinema-going, facilitated by the low cost of tickets and by television’s late entry into the Greek household, was the most popular form of entertainment, with Greek films enjoying such huge popularity that they rivalled Hollywood’s. The two predominant genres within this prolific production and exhibition context were comedy and melodrama, with the latter constituting half of the overall production.4
Different scholars have offered varying categorisations of melodrama: for instance, in her discussion of popular Greek cinema Maria ← 227 | 228 → Komninou distinguishes between ‘melodramatic films’ and ‘folk melodramas’,5 while Niki Karakitsou-Dougé sees Greek melodrama as ranging from ‘great’ to ‘puny’.6 All distinctions are based around hierarchies of cultural taste. The more culturally respectable forms of melodrama are either romantic dramas directed by established directors, like...
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