Class # 15516
Cinema Studies majors only. Permission code required.
Greek cinema has always been a “weird” anomaly in overarching discourses on European cinema. But recently, “weird” has been more specifically used as a branding term for the low-budget, independent, and bizarre wave of contemporary Greek films. These films are typically characterized by their minimalist aesthetics, shock value, and idiosyncrasy. They deliberately elude straightforward interpretation, and pose new intellectual and visceral challenges to their audiences. Although the weird wave is often regarded as a direct response to (and/or symptom of) Greece’s government-debt crisis, this course aims to provide students with a much more complex and broader historical and cross-cultural introduction to Greece’s most popular export. We will study the weird wave alongside other European and global crises (including the socioeconomic crises in Italy, Spain, and Portugal), the immigrant crisis, Brexit, the crisis of nationalism, the EU debates, terrorism, Islamophobia, and geopolitics. The course aims to examine the weird wave in relation to other cinemas of crisis, and to understand its “weirdness” as signaling to a broader interpretative chasm between Greece’s self-projections and the world’s perception of Greece (and how this could be applicable to other weird cinemas from around the world). We will explore through different contexts whether “weird” waves can function as what Maria Chalkou calls a “cinema of emancipation” that frees domestic film culture from internationally conceived stereotypes. The Greek “weird” wave challenges audiences to radically reconceptualize national cinema beyond familiar notions of cultural mirroring and representational authenticity. Consequently, the course will not only engage with theories on national/transnational cinema and cultural studies, but also with other critical frameworks including industry/festival studies, posthumanism, animal studies, queer theory, ethics, and biopolitics.
Assignments for this course include film analysis papers, comparative writing, presentations, online discussion, blogging, and a final research paper.
As this course covers a broad range of challenging material, it is recommended for students who have already taken other intensive Cinema Studies core courses such as Film Theory.
Trigger warning: Many of the assigned films for this course contain potentially triggering and/or offensive material of graphic nature (such as depictions of violence, sex, nudity, rape and incest). Students are asked to take this into consideration and enroll in the course at their discretion.