Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Irene Papas, Manos Katrakis, Maro Kodou, Nikos Kazis, Ilia Livykou
Director: Yorgos Javellas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Kino International Release Date: 09/14/2004 Run time: 82 minutes
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Irene Pappas performs Sophocles's "Antigone" in Greek
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1961 version of Sophocle's tragic drama "Antigone" will not work as an introduction to Greek tragedy. The play is performed in Greek (with subtitles), so I would never recommend it as the first exposure any one has to the performance of an ancient play; there is a 1972 version with Genevieve Bujold that would better serve. However, this particular version does offer Irene Pappas, long considered one of the greatest of Greek actresses, in one of the greatest roles in the nation's history (the only thing better would be to see her perform "Medea"--or maybe Clytemnestra in the "Orestia"). Of course, when "Antigone" was first performed women were not allowed to be actresses; in fact, the only women allowed in the theater of Dionysus in Athens were prostitutes. Pappas is a shade too old for the role, but there is a sense in which performing these plays is more akin to opera than conventional theater. Besides, she plays up Antigone's stubborn streak in a way that gives entirely new shadings to much of the play.Following the ending of "Oedipus the King," Oedipus was exiled from Thebes, blind and a beggar. We also learn from "Oedipus at Colonus" that his sons, Eteocles and Polyneices engaged in a civil war for the throne of Thebes. The two brothers kill each other and Creon (Manos Katrakis), brother of Jocasta, becomes king. He orders that Eteocles, who nobly defended his city, shall receive an honorable burial, but that Polyneices, for leading the Argive invaders, shall be left unburied. This leads Antigone (Pappas), sister to both of the slain brothers, to have to choose between obeying the rule of the state, the dictates of familial binds, and the will of the gods.It is too easy to see the issues of this play, first performed in the 5th century B.C., as being reflected in a host of more contemporary concerns, where the conscience of the individual conflicts with the dictates of the state. The conflict in "Antigone" is not so clear cut: Creon has the right to punish a traitor and to expect loyal citizens to obey. Ismene (Maro Kodou), Antigone's sister, chooses to obey, but Antigone takes a different path. The fact that the "burial" of her brother consists of the token gesture of throwing dirt upon his face, only serves to underscore the ambiguity of the situation Sophocles is developing. Even though the playwright strips Creon of his son, Haemon (Nikos Kazis) and wife, Eurydice (Ilia Livykou) by the end of the drama, it is not a fatal verdict rendered against the king's judgment, but rather the playing out of the tragedy to its grim conclusion.The more you know about the conventions of the Greek theater, the more you will enjoy this filmed performances. The cast manages to maintain the formalities of the ancient drama while infusing the performances with more modern, naturalistic techniques of acting. Pappas is at the center of the performance just as her character is at the heart of the play. I have seen her in a few roles where she has performed in English, but they only hinted at the legendary passions she displays in this film. This is the one for which you will remember Irene Pappas as an actress."
Good film, but DVD suffers from poor transfer quality
Ludix | Upton, MA United States | 09/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Irene Pappas is terrific as Antigone, and Manos Katrakis very impressive as Creon (with occasional moments of overacting). Despite the presence of hundreds of extras, the costumes and settings look a bit cheesy by today's standards. But with a story this great, and acting to match, it seems nit-picky to complain.
Unfortunately, the DVD was made from a dirty print. No restoration appears to have been attempted, and the video compression quality is very poor. Even so, this disc is a must-see for lovers of classic Greek drama and fans of Irene Pappas.
Margaret Dybala | Pearland, Texas United States | 10/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Irene Pappas was the greatest!! I loved this Antigone. I imagine that everyone who would order this knows the story, so no need to go into it. The passion and range of Ms. Pappas is incredible. This is an extremely high quality presentation. Every lover of Greek theater should have this!"
F. S. L'hoir | Irvine, CA | 04/14/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I would rate this DVD three-and-one-half stars. As ever, Irene Papas is excellent as the protagonist, but unfortunately she is on the screen for so short a time that the film does not do her justice. Instead the tragedy focuses on the dead Jocasta's brother, Creon, who has become King of Thebes after the exile and death of Oedipus. One of the most interesting sections of the film is seeing the stychomythia--the fast exchange of single lines that heighten the emotional impact--between Creon and his son Haemon. The chorus has been reduced to a voice-over, with curly grey-bearded elders standing about only suggesting a chorus.
I found the production rather old-fashioned and heavy-handed in a Hollywoodish sort of way (if one can say that about a Greek production) in that there is an ongoing soundtrack that features blaring horns and reedy instruments that only detract from the drama. I'm afraid that "Antigone" simply does not compare to Cocoyannis' "Electra" in which Irene Papas is given the entire film to display her remarkable abilities as an actress of the first magnitude."