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Time and Space in Contemporary Greek-Cypriot Cinema

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Lisa Socrates

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.
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Chapter 3: Contesting the Nation’s Narrative Space and Time: The Akamas Controversy

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CHAPTER 3

Contesting the Nation’s Narrative Space and Time: The Akamas Controversy

In Ludwig very little history will be seen […] In Senso, in contrast, history is present with the Italian movement, the famous battle and the abrupt elimination of Garibaldi’s supporters; or in The Damned, with the rise of Hitler […] But, present or out-of-field, history is never scenery.1

— GILLES DELEUZE

In August 2006, Akamas (Panicos Chrysanthou, Cyprus, 2006) was selected by the jury for a screening at the ‘New Horizons’ event of the 63rd Venice Film Festival.2 This was the first time in the festival’s history that a film from Cyprus was nominated. However, the Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee (CCAC) asked the film’s director not to attend, stating that a particular scene in the film depicting aspects of the ‘nation’s’ history was problematic. The CCAC did not consider Akamas as a suitable representative film from Cyprus to screen before an international audience because it re-created events from Cyprus’s colonial history that contested official versions of this period. The CCAC’s stance highlights the intimate relationship between cinema and national identity as examined in Chapter 2, ← 71 | 72 → expressing its perceived value as a vehicle for nation-building by the state. In their discussion of film festivals, David Archibald and Mitchell Miller identify the importance of film festival spaces for what they describe as ‘identity-building’.3 It would seem that the protest against Akamas’s visibility at the Venice Film Festival expresses the CCAC’s...

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