By Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos
This quantity examines cinematic representations of historic Greek ladies from the geographical regions of fable and historical past. It discusses how those lady figures are resurrected at the huge reveal by means of various filmmakers in the course of various old moments, and are hence embedded inside a story which serves a number of reasons, looking on the director of the movie, its screenwriters, the studio, the rustic of its foundation, and the sociopolitical context on the time of its production.
Using a various array of hermeneutic techniques (such as gender concept, feminist feedback, psychoanalysis, viewer-response idea, and private voice criticism), the essays goal to forged mild on cinema's investments within the classical previous and decode the mechanisms wherein the ladies lower than exam are extracted from their unique context and are dropped at lifestyles to function cars for the articulation of contemporary principles, issues, and cultural developments. the amount therefore goals to enquire not just how antiquity at the display depicts, and during this method distorts, compresses, contests, and revises, antiquity at the web page but additionally, extra crucially, why the medium follows such eclectic representational innovations vis-a-vis the classical global.
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Additional resources for Ancient Greek Women in Film
9 I list the major productions only; for brief overviews of ﬁlms featuring Helen, see Pomeroy (2008: 61–2), Roisman (2008: 127–8). 10 See Solomon (2001a), Russell (2007), Pomeroy (2008), and Paul (2013) for a discussion of historical epic ﬁlms from the beginning of cinema. Following almost a decade of no ﬁlms drawing on classical antiquity, the late 1940s saw a resurgence of ﬁlms featuring ancient Greek themes, including Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (dir. Dudley Nichols, 1947). The ﬁlms produced during the 1950s, the ‘golden age of historical epic’ (Russell, 2007: 5) when 40 per cent of ﬁlms were set in the past (Russell, 2007: 24), include Orphée (dir.
This romantic focus on Helen’s ﬁgure slowly growing before the spectators’ eyes underscores the desirous aspect of the spectator’s gaze. Once in full view, the camera pauses on Helen who looks curiously down at Paris who, still enchanted, is looking up at her. The positioning of Helen and Paris in this scene reverses traditional gender 38 See Kaplan (1997: 67, 74, 80–8). Gundle does not address how preference for sexy, sensual Italian actresses ﬁts into the racism of female portrayals in American ﬁlms.
62 Initially, Helen’s awareness of her position shows her struggling with the idea of having an affair with Paris. 64 Despite initial execrations by members of the royal family or by the Trojan peoples crowded within the city walls, the ﬁlm completely exonerates Helen from any culpability for the war, to the point where the Trojans hail her as they are wheeling in the horse. Helen shows her concern for those dying around her by willingly returning to Menelaus in order to put an end to the war, a gesture that backﬁres when the Greeks demand reparations and annual tribute, and Paris rushes in to drive Helen back to Troy, advancing the familiar exigencies of the plot by killing Patroclus en route.