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Introducing Issue 003: Postmodernism in Greek Cinema

Attenburg (2010) directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari

“Are the brilliantly strange films of Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari a product of Greece's economic turmoil? And will they continue to make films in the troubled country?”

Steve Rose begins his article that dissects two new films by brave Greek filmmakers, while also concreting the term “Greek Weird Wave” in cinema history books forevermore. This new wave of Greek cinema stemmed from a group of filmmakers supporting each other to bring their stories to life uninhibited. Yorgos Lanthimos’ film Dogtooth was funded mostly by the Greek Film Center, public funding supervised by the Greek Ministry of Culture. The film was released in 2009 to much critical acclaim, winning the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival.

A year later even more attention was brought to the new voices of Greek cinema with the release of Attenburg directed and written by Athina Rachel Tsangari (a producer on Dogtooth). The film following a 23-year old woman struggling to connect with others in a boring factory town starred Lanthimos in a supporting role, and he produced her film in return. Attenburg was critically lauded and highly awarded at Venice Film Festival.

When Dogtooth was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards a spotlight was shone on Greek cinema. Rose’s article attempted to encapsulate this momentum and was quick to bestow this movement a name — but what could he have meant by "weird"? Tsangari is one of many Greek filmmakers who rubs against the title, “Yes, can you kill it [the term Greek Weird Wave] right now? Can you put an embargo? I think it might make a difference”. The creation of the term in itself could be considered at the very least orientalist or an exoticization, as Dimitris Papanikalaou opines in his book “Greek Weird Wave: A Cinema of Biopolitics”.

Nevertheless, it was undeniable that Greece had burgeoning voices waiting to be discovered. Greek critic Dimitris Danikas would go on to characterize Dogtooth’s Oscar nomination as “the greatest Greek triumph of recent years,” and would go even further with “Dogtooth's nomination is like an investment – manna from the heaven of Hollywood for the developing Greek cinema.”

In issue 003 we intend to look at Greek cinema, particularly this new wave of postmodern filmmaking, and its point of origin. We will discover the ways in which the new wave evolved from Greek film of the 50s and 60s, and explore these films as a response to and in conversation with the state of Greek politics. Furthermore, we will hone in on the career of Yorgos Lanthimos as a leading Greek filmmaker who has transitioned into what could be considered mainstream success in Hollywood. We will explore all sides of the “weird” wave — the reasons the term was chosen, and the reasons people dislike it. Issue 003 will be released on February 26th.

Join us on the Film Club 3000 podcast where you can listen to us chat about Lanthimos’ films and the Greek Weird Wave weekly, as well as highlight other filmmakers. You can find the podcast schedule below:

January 1st: Poor Things

January 8th: The Favorite

January 15th: The Lobster

January 22nd: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

January 29th: Alps

February 5th: Dogtooth

February 12th: Kinetta

Dogtooth (2010), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos


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