Topics in Modern Greek Literature
Violence & Resistance: Greek Cinema 1955-2010
As we watch and discuss Greek films from the postwar period through the economic crisis of the twenty-first century, we will consider how Greek filmmakers have forged an aesthetics and ethics of resistance to the violence of modernity. In the aftermath of the World War and the Greek Civil War that followed in its wake, Greek filmmakers responded to the country’s physical, moral, and economic collapse. They borrowed from Italian Neorealism as they sought to represent the social realities of a devastated Greece and the culture of reconstruction. After the immediate postwar years, and around the period of dictatorship and censorship (1967-1974), filmmakers drew upon the aesthetic resources of Greek literary tradition by revising ancient tragedy, epic poetry, and myth though the cinematic medium. Reflecting on Greece’s relationship to the Balkans, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean, filmmakers in the later part of the twentieth century grappled with the violence of borders and migration as they projected images of “outsiders.” The Greek “Weird Wave” of the twenty-first century offered a critique of neoliberalism and economic crisis with its focus on the Greek family as a site of biopolitical control.
Throughout the semester, will pay attention to film style, narrative and visual form, the use of locations, the recourse to history, and revisions to Greek literary tradition. We will view feature films and less-known works. Films will be available with English subtitles. Students who wish to work on their Greek composition skills may submit film reviews in Greek as a supplemental exercise.
Films by: Michael Cacoyannis, Nikos Koundouros, Giorgos Tzavellas, Jules Dassin, Vasilis Georgiadis, Alexis Damianos, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Theo Angelopoulos, Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Constantinos Giannaris, Yorgos Lanthimos, Panos Koutras, Athina Tsangari
Readings by: André Bazin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Stathis Gourgouris, Fredric Jameson, Dimitris Papanikolaou, Vrasidas Karalis, Athena Athanasiou, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Sophocles, selected readings in Ancient Greek tragedy and poetry