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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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This book has enjoyed a long gestation, extending back to research periods in Cyprus in the early 1990s. With successive visits, in some cases after a considerable absence, I became aware of profound changes to the creative and physical landscape. Yet, the political problems facing this island and its communities have prevailed. A buffer zone has been there since 1964, guarded by United Nations Peacekeeping forces to prevent inter-communal violence. Nicosia remains the only divided city in Europe. From a restaurant in one of its suburbs, I remember looking out at the cityscape and noticing the proximity of the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot sides. Minarets and Greek Orthodox churches competitively sculpt the landscape of Nicosia.

Nearly a decade on, in 2009, I traversed the entire length of Ledra Street in Nicosia. This was made possible by the partial lifting of the UN buffer zone in 2003. In 2011, I made the journey to Pyla, near Larnaca, a mixed village of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, because I was then permitted to cross the green line. These journeys across a formerly divided territory influenced my understanding of how facets of time and space give form and meaning to our experience of the world. In particular, I wanted to understand why they continue to be intimately connected within the national context of Cyprus.

This book explores the intrinsic qualities of cinema that facilitate the exploitation of cinematic time and space and give them material shape. It questions how...

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