Towards the creation of 'quality' Greek national cinema in the 1960s.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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In the field of Greek film studies, the 1960's are widely seen as the heyday of the 'Old Greek Cinema' (PEK), while the binary model 'Old/mainstream' versus 'New/artistic' still dominates historical, theoretical and critical discourse on Greek film. The contribution of this thesis is that, on the one hand, it considers the 1960s under the light of the rise of 'New Greek Cinema' (NEK) and, on the other, complicates the relationship of PEK and NEK by focusing on the culture surrounding Greek cinema of the time and by exploring the continuities and interrelations between the 'Old' and the 'New'.
Particular emphasis is given to the debates about 'quality' national cinema, including issues of realism, Greekness' and 'popular authenticity', the crucial contribution of state policies and institutions such as the 'Week of the Greek Cinema' in Thessaloniki and cine clubs, the establishment of international art film in the domestic market, and the emergence of a young generation of film critics and cinephiles who promoted the idea of an indigenous art-house film culture. This thesis highlights also the 'Old Greek Cinema's' attempts to raise the cultural status of commercial film and address international audiences and its subsequent openness to formal, thematic and artistic experimentation normally associated with NEK. The rise of history as a thematic concern of Greek cinema of the 1960s is another main focus of this thesis, which attempts to reveal how the Civil-War trauma, and oppositional historical perspectives (typically associated with NEK) found way in disguised forms in the narratives of mainstream films. Finally, through a close examination of the thematic and stylistic concerns of short films made in the 1960s (which include the early works of some of the major NEK figures) it demonstrates the continuity between the cinematic developments of the 1960s and the 1970s.
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