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Time and Space in Contemporary Greek-Cypriot Cinema


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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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...

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