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Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema 1949–1967 Achilleas Hadjikyriacou

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc 1385 Broadway New York NY 10018 USA

50 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DP UK Bloomsbury is a registered trade mark of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published 2013 Š Achilleas Hadjikyriacou, 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Bloomsbury or the author. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hadjikyriacou, Achilleas. Masculinity and gender in Greek cinema, 1949-1967 / Achilleas Hadjikyriacou. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Sex role in motion pictures. 2. Motion pictures--Greece--History--20th century. I. Title. PN1995.9.M34H34 2013 791.43’65211--dc23 2013026417 ISBN: ePDF: 978-1-4411-8573-0 Typeset by Fakenham Prepress Solutions, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 8NN

To Angela†

Contents Acknowledgements Notes for the Reader

ix xi

Prologue 1 1




Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67 Greece as presented by social anthropologists Anthropological views of gender: An incomplete picture Greek society in transition and change Redefining gender relations Youth: Opportunities, challenges, continuities and new cultures Rethinking masculinity and gender in post-war Greek society


Greek Cinema: 1949–67 Towards a Greek Hollywood: Films, audiences, and companies in post-war Greece The role of the state Reflections of social change Greek popular films: Actors, genres, themes and characters Masculinities, femininities and the rise of a local star system Youth in films: The representation of a crisis Rethinking masculinity, gender and the development of Greek cinema


11 19 24 32 47 53

65 72 75 85 87 91 93

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities Behind the main story: Representing rural and urban societies Honour, shame and the ‘omnipresent neighbourhood’ Breaking the context … or not? Subordinating hegemonies: Masculinity in crisis ‘Primitive’ violence Rethinking masculinity and locality


Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class Idealizing the working-classes, demonizing the upper classes Class transition: Shifting between hegemony and subordination


101 114 119 129 134 137

149 156

viii Contents


Renegotiating tradition in the view of a problematic modernity Leading men to crisis: A female task Rethinking masculinity and class


Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age Profitable bodies: Embodying a new morality Challenging ‘undisputed’ hierarchies A generation gap in Greece: Women as agents of change Conflicting typologies: The traditional, the modern and the ‘in-betweens’ Rethinking masculinity and modernity


175 183

195 205 216 224 238



Appendix Primary Sources Bibliography Index

267 281 297 313

Acknowledgements The publication of this book signifies the end of a long, difficult but also exciting journey. Many people have contributed to the completion of this effort in many different ways. First, I would like to thank Professor Giulia Calvi for her support, guidance and critical reflection on my work during my PhD studies. It would have been truly impossible to write this book without her precious insights into theoretical and methodological issues concerning my research. For our inspiring and challenging conversations I am thankful to Professor Anthony Molho, Professor Penelope Corfield, Professor Luisa Passerini, Professor Laura Mulvey, Professor Maria Stassinopoulou, Professor Maria Komninos, Professor Joanna Bourke, Dr Yannis Tzioumakis, Dr Angie Voela, Dr Athina Kartalou, Dr Nikolaos Skoutaris and Yiannis Filandros. Their ideas helped me to form my own approach to cinema as a valid category of historical analysis. For their assistance during the collection of primary sources, I would like to thank the staff of the Archive of the Cinema Museum of Thessaloniki, the Union of Greek Technicians of Cinema and Television Archive, the Library of the Greek Parliament, the Greek National Library, the Greek National Film Archive and the British Film Institute Archive. I am extremely grateful to Yiannis Soldatos for allowing me to use his priceless personal archive. Special thanks go to the editor of Bloomsbury, Katie Gallof for all her help during the preparation of this book. Last, but certainly not least, I want to express my gratitude to my wife for all her love, support and understanding which has made this book possible.

Notes for the Reader 1 All translations of Greek titles in the bibliography and list of primary sources, as well as the quotations from sources in Greek, are by the author. Exceptions include the titles of the films Ayoupa, to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass], 1957, Kiriakatiko Xipnima [Windfall in Athens], 1954 and To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956 which have become known outside Greece in the aforementioned translation. The only titles not translated are those comprising only the name of an individual e.g. Stella, Mandalena, Stefania. 2 The transliteration system used for Greek names and titles is based on the suggestion of the Journal of Modern Greek Studies, but omits stresses and diacritics. Exceptions from this system were also made when a name or title has become known in the West or where these have been published in English (for example, I write Cacoyannis instead of Kakoyiannis). 3 The general information about the main films analyzed in this book (see Appendix) has been taken from Valoukos (1998); Rouvas and Stathakopoulos (2005). 4 All screenshots containing scenes from the main films analyzed were taken from the films’ DVDs. Aside from the posters from Hellafi Collection (1996) in Chapter 5, all other images were taken from popular magazines, film magazines and film journals found in the archive of Ethniki Vivliothiki [Greek National Library].


Between the end of the civil war (1949) and the Colonels’ military coup (1967), Greece went through tremendous political, economic and social transformations which inevitably influenced gender identities and relations. During the same period, Greece also witnessed an unparalleled bloom in cinema productions. Based on the recently established paradigm that cinema and popular culture viewed as social institutions can inform a historical project, this book explores the relationship between Greek cinema and the society within which it was created and viewed with an emphasis on gender issues. This exploration focuses on the ways in which a specific social context informed popular cinema productions and vice versa. The investigation of the interaction between social and filmic worlds aims to provide insights into how masculinity and gender relations as social, cultural and visual products were negotiated and transformed. As far as masculinity is concerned, there is a particular focus on the analysis of the processes through which a state of a crisis may ensue. Such a crisis could be defined as a state in which the definition of masculinity becomes obscured, uncertain and problematic, causing men to feel uncertainty and anxiety about what constitutes their gender identity. More precisely, this book explores firstly how Greek popular films of the time represented masculinity and gender relations within a context of negotiation between tradition and modernity. It also addresses how class and locality were represented in relation to gender identities. Additionally, throughout this exploration, the ways in which cultural transfers impacted cinematic images are under scrutiny. Importantly, the question of how masculinity is represented in films is paired with an investigation into how these representations relate to their historical context.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Book contents Chapter 1 provides the historical context of the study by focusing on the analysis of gender in Greece during the period under investigation through different bodies of literature including social anthropology, sociology, social and cultural history. Examining the reports from various fields of social research provides insights into how many of the traditional values, ideas and beliefs which used to shape the lives of Greeks, were challenged by deep social, economic and cultural transformations. The picture that post-war Greek society presents in terms of gender is neither black nor white, nor can it be easily determined by general categories or stereotypes. As this chapter demonstrates, to a considerable extent this has gone unappreciated in early anthropological research. Anglo-American anthropologists arriving in Greece after the end of the Greek Civil War (1949) tended to reproduce certain categories of analysis based on the code of honour and shame, which seemed to fit well within the broader Mediterranean anthropological paradigm. Moving beyond the anthropological perspectives on gender, the chapter aims to outline the tremendous social changes in post-war Greece. Based mainly on historical-sociological literature and statistical accounts, it argues that, by the late 1960s, even in rural areas, solid ‘backward’ and static patriarchal societies cannot be regarded as the dominant paradigm. The migration movement – both internal and external – the advanced participation in higher education, women’s labour, the emergence of violent youth cultures, the sexual revolution, the new media and the increased flow of tourists, are only some of the changes which had a tremendous impact on gender relations first in large cities and later in the countryside. In these new social realities, which could be generally described as expressions of a Greek modernity, masculinity as well as femininity was redefined. Thus, an understanding of the social context in which masculinity and gender relations have been constructed and experienced provides the basis for the exploration of the representations of that particular society in popular culture. Chapter 2 aims to introduce the reader to the period under investigation from a cinematic point of view by analysing the ‘Classic’ Greek cinema. Central issues here are the production and distribution of films, the role of the state, the economic infrastructure of the cinema industry, the way in which commercial films reflected social change, popular themes, storylines and characters, the



birth of a local star system and the representation of youth cultures. Here, the analysis draws on the available secondary literature on Greek cinema – which is however, very limited – as well as primary sources such as cinema journals, magazines and newspapers which provide interesting information and statistical data on the aforementioned issues. This information is very helpful in terms of assessing the development of Greek cinema from the early 1950s until the late 1960s and in distinguishing its specificities and connections to a broader European or global context. Chapter 3 is the first part of the main analysis and is preoccupied with the investigation of the connection between masculinity and locality. The analysis is concentrated upon the interpretation and contextualization of cinematic representations which deal with masculinity as an open-ended category of analysis, redefined and transformed through the encounter of rural with urban ideologies. Given the massive streams of internal and external migration in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s which altered the demographic character of the country, the connection of masculinity with locality becomes a demanding question. Modernity, tradition, morality and hegemony become the main axes of film analysis in this chapter which breaks any initial antithetical and static representations of gender to highlight its fluent, unstable and transformable character. To achieve a more comparative and multidimensional perspective on filmic representations related to masculinity and gender, these axes are often cross-examined with anthropological accounts on rural Greece. Chapter 4 deals with the connection between masculinity and class, another social identity which was also influenced by the tremendous political, economic, social and cultural transformations in post-civil war Greece. As this chapter points out, popular films represented gender as constructed and experienced differently in various social strata. However, this difference should not be interpreted merely as a result of the economic superiority of higher classes in relation to the lower but also as a result of their differences in perceptions and experiences of modernity. Similarly to Chapter 3, the discussion here touches on issues regarding modernity, tradition, morality and hegemony. A further special focus is on the representations of class transition and its impact on masculine models, as well as on the issue of ‘masculinity crisis’. A cross-examination of filmic representations with literature describing the deep social change is often performed in order to highlight the complex connection of popular cinema with its historical context.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Chapter 5 discusses in depth the issue of modernity and its impact on traditional forms of masculinity and on the patriarchal structure of the Greek family. Central place in this analysis is given to the representations of female emancipation and the birth of new youth cultures. Both phenomena challenged the traditional codes of male and female behaviour and provoked huge discussions in Greek society. Through the parallel discussion of these representations with the changes in male and female spheres in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s, this chapter demonstrates how cinema productions incorporated and expressed the problematic advent of cultural transfers from the modernized ‘West’. However, these changes should not be merely considered as a predominance of foreign modernity over the longstanding Greek traditions. Foreign cultural transfers were only one aspect of modernity in Greece during the period under investigation which was largely an ‘internal’ process including deep changes in economic conditions, consumerism, education, demography, family organization, entertainment, gender spheres, morality and sexuality. One of the key aims of this chapter is to examine various ‘grey areas’ in the relationship between traditional and new gender models and to explore how continuities from the first were incorporated in the second. Finally, the Epilogue concludes this work and highlights its contribution to the history of Greece, masculinity and popular culture. It offers a crossthematical overview of the connections between the cinematic representations of masculinity and gender with the Greek society of the 1950s and 1960s. Thus, locality, class and modernity are approached as interrelated domains in which masculinity has been experienced and represented. This approach, on the one hand allows certain conclusions to emerge regarding the various profiles of the ‘Greek man’ during the 1950s and 1960s and, on the other, puts forward new demanding questions. Thus, the Epilogue while signifying the end of a long effort to understand Greek masculinity, at the same time prepares the ground for new journeys in this largely uninvestigated area.

A word on methodology The book is based on the recently established paradigm that cinema and popular culture can inform a historical project. This is not simply to suggest a study of the cinema only as an industry with companies, producers, directors and actors



changing through time. This perspective is considered as a starting point of an analysis which scrutinizes cinema as a social institution, interactively changing along with the society in which it is produced and viewed.1 However, there are many peculiarities in the use of films as historical sources. First of all, they are a form of art and thus what they present cannot be taken at face value. Each film has its own symbolic, semiotic and cultural dimension. Secondly, what is actually presented on screen is the result of a process in which various social, cultural, political and economical parameters play an important role. Nonetheless, these specificities which somehow reinforce the subjectivity of films as sources have not discouraged a series of scholars during the last 35 years from transcending methodological and theoretical obstacles and using films in their historical analyses. Modern approaches appreciate the informative value of narrative cinema in relation to its social and historical context. Since the early 1970s, historians have shown how – with or without the intention of its producers – each film represents certain social contexts. But the social dimension of the cinema is not limited to the fact that it is informed by its social context. The characters in a film interact with the audience in complicated identification processes. It is broadly accepted that film scenes, filmic characters and film stars can influence the beliefs and behaviours of the audience and vice versa. In this sense, the role of the cinema as a social institution becomes more complicated and multidimensional.2 However, the interaction of the cinema with its social context cannot be taken to imply a monolithic reception of any film by its audience. Viewers and listeners can perceive stories, images, sounds and characters very differently, even in ways that the filmmakers never imagined. Thus, the representation and reception processes are two different aspects of a film which require different analytical tools. Nevertheless, they are equally important in terms of appreciating the interaction between filmic and social worlds.3 During the last two decades it has been repeatedly stated that films open a window onto reality. With the characters acting in realistic environments or in environments realistically set up to represent everyday problems and challenges (e.g. unemployment, homelessness, a generation gap), it is possible to view these films as a picture of their social context.4 This is a challenging approach and, to an extent, problematic. Even in films which discuss their contemporary social phenomena, reality is transferred and altered. As Delveroudi argues, every individual involved with the production of a film – directors, actors, scriptwriters and producers – contributes to the ‘filtering’ of the social reality


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

prior to being shown to the audience and being examined by researchers. The production process works in its own microcosm.5 The people involved in this process discuss, exchange opinions, integrate their personal beliefs and above all, especially in the case of commercial cinema, try to make their film attractive to a mass audience. Moreover, the presence of censorship is another strong filter in the filmic representations of societies. Thus, plots, characters, scenes, the whole filmic world, despite being informed by their surrounding social context, are still imaginary and cannot be taken at face value. To an extent they remain aspects of a fictional world which follows its own rules and values. This recalls Kartalou’s observation that ‘Greek popular film deserves to be seen in its own right, as the place where varying interpretations of social issues have been articulated and debated’.6 What this book aims to put forward are the links between those films and the social, cultural and historical circumstances and how their close reading opens a dialogue with history about analytical categories related to gender relations and masculinity. As Stassinopoulou argues: A contextualized reading of Greek feature films can provide a more accurate recognition of realities behind filmic representations and at the same time of fluid mentalities in Greek postwar society, of expressions of a society in transition, which were codified later, perhaps even not at all, in other types of documentation.7

If cinema is to be used to inform a historical analysis, the historian has to penetrate through various filters to reach useful information for certain analytical categories. To this end, it is important to bear in mind that what appears on screen despite being fictional, maintains familiar codes which the audience is capable of interpreting. This reminds us of the statement by Eleftheriotis that ‘The popular Greek films of the 1960s are Greek in every sense of the word. They are made for domestic consumption, set in Greek settings and are usually about domesticity, the troubles and pleasures of life within the extended network of the family, friends and neighbourhood’.8 Thus, the ‘Old Greek Cinema’9 is closely related to its social context but it should not be regarded as a mirror which reflects the image of its contemporary society. As Levendakos argues, it worked more as a magic picture. When decoded, this picture can provide insights not only into facts and social realities but also into the desires, fantasies and dreams of Greek men and women during the 1950s and 1960s.10 While the informative role of cinema for social sciences is nowadays broadly accepted, its validity as a historical source depends on how it is methodologically



analysed. The methodology used in this book starts with the recognition of film production as a process which reflects upon prevalent images of the society and the culture in which it emerges.11 In these terms, popular films can help a historian to gain an understanding of which themes the audience could easily identify with, and then create analytical categories for further analysis and crossexamination with other sources. The cross-examination with extra-cinematic sources and literature is absolutely necessary in order to verify or contrast the categories of analysis and prevent the danger of historically invalid interpretations. These categories can be found in the main storylines or in the secondary stories, images and characters whose background positions within the film have rendered them less open to the various interferences of extra-cinematic factors. For example, how people dressed, entertained, worked, married and socialized can be examined very well by how they were represented in films behind the actions of the protagonists. Change and controversy in these representations in terms of time, place, genre, company of production, or director should always be on the agenda of a historical approach to popular films.12 As it has been already mentioned, the period 1949–67 was a politically, socially and culturally transitory period for Greece. Gender, as a socially constructed identity, experienced many changes that marked its passage from a rather traditional to a more modernized context. Old and new elements influenced cinematic representations of masculinity and femininity. This parallel change in the filmic and social world was the main criterion for the selection of the specific period, whose historical study is largely informed here by its representations in popular films. In addition, the cinema industry as such experienced significant changes in terms of production and economic conditions, factors that were not irrelevant to the general context of deep social change. Therefore, this period is extremely interesting from a social, cultural, historical and cinematic point of view. What this book aims to offer is a possible explanation of how changes in Greek society influenced gender experiences, perceptions and representations. The massive number of productions during the period in question makes the close study of the entire filmic corpus extremely difficult, if not impossible. Thus, the book is based on the analysis of a representative sample of the productions, selected by four main criteria: year of production, genre, storyline and popularity. The 12 main films analysed in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 were produced in the years between 1949–67, they are either comedies or dramas – the most popular genres during this period – and were in the top 20 per cent of the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

box office during their year of production.13 Last but not least, the selection was biased towards films whose storylines revolve around the connection of masculinity with (a) locality, (b) class and (c) modernity. Within these thematic units three main perspectives shape the structure and context of the analysis. These are related to the antitheses and interaction between: (a) hegemonic and subordinated masculinities, (b) social change from the 1950s to the 1960s and (c) traditional and modern representations of gender. It has to be noted, that in exceptional cases, films of average success, which did not feature among the official top 20 per cent in ticket sales are also included in the main analysis for one or more of the following three reasons. First, because they are believed to have attracted larger audiences in ‘second-release cinemas’, for which official statistical data do not exist.14 Second, because they focus uniquely upon issues related to the three aforementioned thematic units and third, because their reception by the press was extremely rich or controversial. The sample is complemented by a number of other films to which a ‘close reading’ is not applied. These ‘reference films’ are used either to support or to contrast the main categories of analysis and findings. Apart from films themselves the analysis of representations is informed by three more sources: (a) film reviews in cinema journals, (b) film reviews in newspapers and (c) cinema-related articles in popular magazines. The first includes the main journals which were concerned with cinema-related issues and were usually purchased by professionals of the cinema industry (i.e. directors, producers, distributors, owners of cinema theatres). This part of the analysis aims to improve our understanding of the internal mechanisms of the cinema industry and market: why and how certain films were preferred and promoted and why certain images were created. When applicable, Greek film reviews in international film journals are also scrutinized in order to highlight the reception and promotion of Greek films abroad. The second and third type of source used, newspapers and magazines, aimed at a much greater audience. They were read by a high proportion of cinemagoers and their study can therefore yield valuable insights into popular taste. In particular, as we move to the 1960s the magazines, which were extremely popular among young people, were increasingly preoccupied with the filmic and personal life of Greek actors and actresses; in this way, contributing to the creation of a local star system. Again when applicable, reviews of Greek films in the international press were taken into consideration in order to highlight aspects of their international reception. In general, film reviews can give clues



about the possible impact of popular filmic representations and characters on the audience. As Spicer argues: ‘The popularity of a film or a star is a crude but important indication of audience preferences’.15 In particular, when a film negotiates contemporary social realities, its reception by the press can be uniquely enlightening in terms of its social and cultural connotations.

Notes   1 For a detailed analysis of how cinema has become a valid domain of historical analysis see Hadjikyriacou (2010).   2 Spicer (1998: 11) underlines the importance of not viewing cinematic images and in particular cinematic typologies of masculinity as simple reflections of social realities and social change. According to the same author, we should instead focus on the interaction between social change and cinematic representation, an approach which may help to insulate a study of gender from simplistic generalisations between the filmic and the real.   3 For this reason, this book takes into consideration both aspects by first providing an analysis of gender representations through the close reading of films and secondly, looking at their reception in the popular and periodical press in Greece and abroad. However, the systematic study of the press response does not aim to draw general conclusions regarding how the audience received specific films. On the contrary, it provides insights into the complex mechanisms through which a film can become a carrier of diverse meanings and influence public opinion.   4 Allen and Gomery (1985: 157–8).   5 Delveroudi (2004: 17).   6 Kartalou (2000: 115).   7 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 25).   8 Eleftheriotis (1995: 238).   9 ‘Old Greek Cinema’ [Palios Ellinikos Kinimatografos] is a term frequently used by Greek scholars to describe a very important period in the history of Greek cinema. Although it does not refer to a clearly demarcated period, the term usually includes Greek films that were produced before the early 1970s – when the ‘New Greek Cinema’ theoretically begins – and especially the commercial productions of the 1950s and 1960s. On the categorization of Greek cinema in Old, New and Contemporary according to chronological, ideological, stylistic and economical criteria see Papadimitriou (2006: 13) and Kokonis (2012: 42–3). 10 Levendakos (2002: 12). 11 Trice and Holland (2001: 1–2).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

12 Stassinopoulou (1995: 429). 13 Full details about these films can be found in the Appendix. It is also worth mentioning that these films are Greek productions according to the state’s criteria during the period under investigation. According to Stassinopoulou (2000a: 35): ‘Article 13 of the 4208/1961 on the development of cinematography in Greece requires all the following prerequisites for the declaration of a film as Greek: Greek script writer; Greek production company (including international companies with offices in Greece); dialog in Greek; Greek director (non Greeks only in the case they are internationally known); the majority of the technicians should be Greek; with the exception of colour films developing and printing of the film must be executed in Greece; all personnel must be covered by a Greek social security institution’. 14 These cinemas were mainly on the periphery of Athens where films were shown after their first release period had expired. The price of the tickets in these cinemas was significantly lower in relation to the ‘first release cinemas’, making films an affordable entertainment to the largely working-class portions of a mass audience. For more details on the film distribution system in Greece see Kartalou (2005: 189–90). 15 Spicer (1998: 14).


Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67

The purpose of this chapter is to outline a socio-historical context within which the films selected were produced. In order to gain an understanding of representations of gender in films, it is necessary to form an understanding of the society in which the films were created and viewed. To this end, a study of the available literature from the fields of social anthropology, sociology and social history as well as any available records and statistical data (about legislation, demography, employment, education etc.) allows us to form an outline of Greek society during the period in question. The chapter begins by critically reviewing the anthropological literature on the issue of gender. It then investigates Greek society of the 1950s and 1960s in terms of social change and modernization.

Greece as presented by social anthropologists In modern Greece the field of gender studies has attracted little historical interest. However, work on the question of gender, originating mainly from the field of social anthropology, has managed to draw a preliminary picture of the traditional Greek family and gender roles in various rural societies. From the 1950s until the mid-1980s, when approaching issues of gender in Greece and other Mediterranean societies, a series of Anglo-American anthropologists tended to draw upon common concepts, such as honour, shame, virginity, patriarchy, public vs private sphere, to categorize their findings.1 It could be generally argued that anthropologists working in post-World War II Greece laid their research on the common basis that the traditional Greek family was decidedly patriarchal. A man had to prove himself by being first a good son and later an ideal husband, father and provider. In this way,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

he gained timi [honour], a very important masculine virtue for Mediterranean societies in general. Anthropologists focusing on Greece describe variant values and behaviours that men had to incorporate in their lifestyle in order to prove themselves honourable and thus gain and maintain the respect of each micro-society. Despite differences in the anthropologists’ reports, the values of manliness shared the same orientation: to guard the virtue of women and the honour of the house in both economic and moral terms.2 The constant ambition of a man to keep his timi or augment it through the respect and admiration of the community was called philotimo. Philotimo was a way to lead a virile life and to acquire strong self-esteem, by fulfilling all the obligations towards the family and especially towards its female members.3 Thus, a man should always prove himself ‘energetic’, as eneryia [energy] was a principle of masculinity and domination. In addition to being philotimos [having philotimo], a man had to believe in his superiority as an independent male, a kind of self-respect and pride synonymous with egoism [egoismos] in the sense of being the head of a collective, a kin group, a village, a region or a country. Often this egoism engaged men in ‘a constant struggle to gain precarious and transitory advantage over each other’.4 Due to a man’s economic responsibilities as the head of the house, boys enjoyed educational advantages. A future father had to know how to read and count in order to practice a trade successfully, so primary school was considered necessary for boys while girls were deprived, at least prior to the 1950s, of any ‘unnecessary’ knowledge.5 Furthermore, if a male acquired higher education he gained the respect of the community. He was considered capable of pursuing much more prestigious occupations than farming or even of leaving the village to work in a town.6 Nonetheless, even if a man left the village to live in the city he was expected to maintain the rural prototypes of masculinity. For example, while an urban wife might or might not be able to manage the house, the husband was still expected to provide for it.7 A man in rural Greece had to prove himself not only in labour but also during his leisure time. Anthropologists who have studied different Greek societies agree that the kafeneion [coffee house] was a forum in which: ‘manhood is expressed, reputations are negotiated, and social relationships are enlivened through endless card-playing, political debate, competitive talk, and reciprocal hospitality’.8 It is worth mentioning that, according to anthropologists, the kafeneion remained an entirely male arena at least until the mid-1980s. Despite the significant changes in social values during this period, if not restricted from

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


entering a kafeneion, women still felt very embarrassed or ashamed to do so. Thus, with very rare exceptions, women showed very little desire to enter this male space which they continued to regard as a symbol of men’s freedom for socialization in the public sphere.9 Another place closely associated with masculinity was the plateia [public square]. Normally, women and especially young girls were not allowed to go to the plateia except when festivities were held. Even then, they were allowed only if escorted by their husbands. In everyday life, the plateia remained a male domain were men could socialize with other men.10 In the plateia, kafeneion or in any other place of socialization or fiestas, the character of masculine behaviour was shaped by two main values: kerasma and kefi. Kerasma was the action of ‘treating’ a newcomer in the company or of buying a round of drinks for all those present. This action was very important as it embodied the value of a gift and the male principle of hospitality.11 However, extremes were to be avoided. A tight-fisted man was considered as dishonourable as a wasteful spender who entertained his friends without a sense of responsibility towards his family.12 Kefi describes a state of pleasure, delight, humour as well as a slight intoxication. Kefi can be determined as the main purpose of socialization in male domains such as plateia and kafeneion, which eventually became a symbol of masculinity.13 The observations of anthropologists have shown that male and female spheres were both cooperative and oppositional. According to Boulay, who conducted fieldwork from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s in the village Ambeli in Evoia, despite their antithetic natures, men and women respected one another’s roles. They connected the image of Jesus Christ with that of the man of the house and the image of Holy Mary with that of the wife.14 A happy family was a way for both husband and wife to acquire pride, honour and self-esteem. A man should constantly prove his manliness by combining characteristics such as courage, a quick temper and sexual potency in his role as a husband-fatherprovider. Most importantly, he could gain honour and public recognition only if he proved able to protect the virtue of his female kin and support the house in both economic and moral terms.15 Thus, the subordination of the wife to her husband was a means of demonstrating before society that a successful provider had control of the family and was able to offer security to all its members.16 On this, Boulay states: ‘while woman’s character is forged by the demands of the heroic code of self sacrifice and obedience to man, man’s character is tempered by an unremitting and often tyrannous service to the house’.17 Only in this way,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

could the husband and the wife enjoy the respect of the others and be recognized as noikokiris and noikokira [successful householder, male and female]. The important role of the wife in the constitution of a successful household is unquestionable. In fact a corporate, self-sufficient, family-based household could offer to women equal or even greater public prestige than that of their husbands.18 In general terms, it could be suggested that according to social anthropologists, the division of labour in Greek villages appeared to follow a simple sexual symbolism. Tasks which required organization and strength were considered as men’s work while women dealt with everything relevant to nurturing and care. Consequently, men had nothing to do with the domestic work, the carrying of the water, for example, which would have been dishonouring.19 Nevertheless, if, for any reason, the sexual separation of tasks had to break, this had to be done in secret to avoid negative gossip and mockery. Since masculinity is largely defined, experienced, proved and accepted not individually but within social groups, a man seen to break the ‘masculine code’ by tiding up or sweeping would suffer a series of jokes by his peers.20 During his fieldwork in a Cretan mountain village, Herzfeld observed that food was also categorized by gender. On the one hand, meat was generally accepted as a male nutrition which symbolized masculinity by virtue of its special value as a luxury item. The more often one could afford or acquire meat in any way (even by stealing it!), the more manly an individual became. On the other hand, eating oily food and vegetables was considered less masculine since people had easy access to these types of food. Thus, this kind of diet was associated with the relatively ‘effeminate’ men (spitarides, men of the house).21 Another common observation by anthropologists is that the female moral code was closely related to the concept of dropi [shame], which prevented them from getting involved in any kind of sexual relationship before marriage. Premarital or extramarital sexual affairs would dishonour individual women and their families permanently. For fear of being dishonoured by their female kin, males guarded their virginity and kept them under strict control, thus depriving them of any kind of relations with men outside the family.22 This need for constant restriction and guardianship of women mainly derived from their being considered morally weak and vulnerable. Sex was regarded as a natural physical temptation for all people and thus a girl lacking the protection of her father and brothers would have sex not only with one man but with many, since that is what the law of nature imposes on ‘weak’ people. Women normally

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could not even argue against this restriction. As Herzfeld explains, ‘when Greek women exhibit silence and submission they outwardly perform their female identity in a male dominated world’.23 In this traditional society, when women talked they talked in the presence of women alone. The classification of women as inferior to men is commonplace among the early ethnographies of Greece. Boulay clearly points out the by-nature superior virtues attributed to men that inevitably put women in an inferior place. According to her, a man’s nature was symbolically associated with ‘Adam, superior, right, closer to God, intelligent, strong minded, cool-headed, brave, reliable and strong’. On the contrary, the female was associated with ‘Eve, inferior, left, closer to Devil, unintelligent, credulous, fearful, unreliable, weak and irresponsible’.24 These antithetic symbolisms contributed to the establishment of a responsibility on the part of men to guard women, considered as ethnically inferior. Thus, men’s honour depended on women’s shame which was maintained by an absolute code of sexual morality.25 In addition, men were responsible for making sure that not even a breath of gossip touched the women in his family.26 Consequently, honour was not only a matter of private virtue but also a matter of public reputation. This reputation is, as Boulay mentions, an external recognition of man’s inner state which is vital to his state of honour.27 Power, sexuality and gender relationships were shaped by the moral code of honour and shame with a rigid spatial and behavioural division between men and women. Consequently, the prestige of the family in traditional Greek societies depended on the maintenance of a good reputation.28 Sexual morality was of an absolute form. Whoever dared to ignore the moral code had to suffer the consequences. Female adultery or the sexual activity of an unmarried daughter attacked the moral integrity and honour of the family and humiliated its leader. In this case, a man’s options were very limited. According to Campbell, who studied a Sarakatsanian village near the Greek-Albanian borders in 1954–5, he would either murder the relevant female and her seducer or leave things as they were and suffer mocking comments such as keratas (cuckold).29 The first choice would clean his name but put him in prison and the second one would deprive him of honour and male pride.30 Apart from the stereotype of the honourable, mature family man, another figure appeared in all rural societies as the absolute expression of Greek manliness: the pallikari [young, unmarried lad]. Usually tall and dark, muscular, and most importantly, philotimos, he embodied all the virtues of a young hero.31 These individuals were the only members of the family who were actually


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expected to reply with physical force in case of insult.32 For this reason, physical strength and great courage are the two basic characteristics of the pallikari, who was to be prepared to die in order to defend the honour of the family. Mental and physical perfection were the means to exhibit the capability to perform these tasks and thus gain an admirable reputation. Even though marriage had a very important role and a man could not achieve full adult recognition until he was married,33 the unmarried pallikari was undoubtedly a shining symbol of free, unspoiled and powerful masculinity. Campbell argues: … sex, sin, and death are related; similarly virginity, continence, and life […]. the founding of a family is wholly good, yet marriage, sex relations, and children, inevitably foreshow death. The pallikari, not the head of the family, is the ideal of manhood.34

However, it is worth mentioning that the father-and-son relationship matured according to the age and the experiences of the son. Normally, a son could enjoy full adult status at the age of approximately 23, after completing his military service. Before that, he suffered certain restrictions: he could not drink, smoke or play cards in his father’s presence and he had to leave a coffee house as soon as his father entered. Each of these factors demonstrates that father and pallikari did not enjoy equal status.35 While the premarital sexual purity of the women of the family was crucial to masculine honour, young men were encouraged to have sexual experiences before marriage as a characteristic of their masculine virtue.36 In some rural societies even extramarital sex, under certain conditions, was not condemned for males. A man could have sexual relationship with other women, if he desired, as long as he ‘merely passed his time’ and did not neglect any of his obligations either as a father or husband. If he spent his time and money on affairs instead of on his official family, he would make a fool of himself and would be mocked as a yinaikas [womanizer]. Then, as a victim of his own passions, he would lose both his honour and his reputation of virility.37 In some areas of Greece this sexual code promoted an ambiguous lifestyle, notably pronounced among young males. Since the early 1960s, initially in the areas that attracted most tourists, young men used to pursue foreign women with the intention of having sex. These men were called kamakia, a term used metaphorically since kamaki virtually means a harpoon for spearing fish. According to the study of Zinovieff, the origins of this phenomenon derive from the strict code of sexual shame to which young Greek women were subjected.

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With the vast majority of local females sexually and socially restricted by their parents and brothers until marriage, young men were attracted by the apparently more sexually liberated foreign women. For kamakia, tourists were a unique chance for female company and, possibly, sexual intercourse devoid of further responsibilities. Even in later decades, when moral codes of ‘honour and shame’ were becoming weaker and weaker, allowing Greek women a more emancipated lifestyle, the kamakia still preferred foreign women, considering them in all terms superior to the native. As Zinovieff argues: When a kamaki approaches a woman who turns to be a Greek, he may return to his friends and say disparagingly, “She smells of sheep” [mirizei provatila], an insulting reference to Greece as an agricultural society, and to its backward womenfolk.38

The preference of kamakia to foreign women should be examined also as a social, if not national challenge. Considering themselves as members of an economically inferior society, these men could be understood to have been taking a kind of revenge by sexually conquering female tourists from supposedly superior societies. The increasing popularity of kamaki led to the foundation of various clubs across the country whose members were competing against each other, or the members of other similar clubs, in this peculiar game of sex and pleasure. Especially during the summer months, kamaki was becoming so popular that we can speak about the growth of a male subculture. Needless to say, the respect and prestige of a man performing kamaki among his peers was analogous to the number of his female conquests. As another ambiguous type of manliness, mangas also held an important place in Greece, both in rural and urban environments, since the mid-1920s. The term described an impoverished, disenfranchized person who lived by petty crime and occasional labour.39 Being a mangas was connected with certain characteristics of behaviour, appearance and lifestyle. For example, a mangas would never marry, nor show tenderness to women; instead his habits included the regular smoking of hashish, public exhibition of hatred towards the police and the view that going to jail was a mark of honour. A mangas was also easily recognizable in terms of outward appearance. According to Petropoulos a mangas wore a fedora hat pushed far back on his head, or so far forward that he had to tilt his head back to see. The hat had a black band to show mourning for the victims of his crimes. He carried a knife or revolver in his belt and in his hand


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema a cane made of hard cherry wood which he could use as a weapon in fights. He wore his jacket with only the left arm in the sleeve so that he could flip it round the forearm as a shield against his opponent’s knife or cane. He walked with a subtly arrogant swagger, left shoulder hunched slightly forward to keep his jacket on, often playing a komboloi (worry beads), and swinging only his right hand.40

Most importantly, through his own marginalized subculture, mangas became a potent image of masculinity, developing an extraordinary moral, social and aesthetic ethos around him. Other men kept a respectful distance from a mangas especially when he was performing a solo, powerful dance called the zeimbekiko. A man danced zeimbekiko only for himself and any disturbance might have been regarded as an insult.41 The rich masculine significations of the zeimbekiko established it as the absolute male dance. Until the 1970s, in fact, the sight of a woman dancing zeimbekiko would cause musicians to stop playing and lay their instruments aside!42 However, the choreographic performance of zeimbekiko and its connection to the lifestyle of manges, reinforced an alternative manliness, obviously antithetic and challenging to the dominant model of the honourable patriarch. Zeimbekiko constituted a unique way to celebrate and promote the isolated individual, not the head of a social unit; it was representative of a macho man, a leader of a tortured life in the margins of the society, a man who declined the responsibility of creating a family. A man dancing zeimbekiko symbolized the male for whom women exist only for pleasure and did not carry the burdens of fatherhood.43 In general, when analysing the traditional patriarchal model of Greek families one should bear in mind that the 1950s and 1960s were an age of change for both the Greek state and society. According to Vervenioti, the economic and social impact of World War II (1939–45) and the Greek Civil War (1946–9) brought changes to this firm model of patriarchal family. Properties and dowries were lost, as well as the prospect of a traditional marriage settlement. The inability of males to protect and provide for their womenfolk inevitably weakened their control over them.44 Additionally, Western values45 appeared intensively in the form of modernity which gradually changed the character of Greek society, first in large cities and later in villages. However, the impact of political events and the advent of modernity are less evident in the picture that anthropologists present of the Greek rural societies in the 1950s and 1960s. The contribution and shortcomings of the anthropological studies to drawing

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a picture of gender status and gender relations in Greece during this period is discussed in what follows.

Anthropological views of gender: An incomplete picture It is generally accepted that the development of anthropological research in Greece has not been autonomous from the wider ethnographical interest in Mediterranean cultures.46 Indeed, one can find significant similarities not only in the methods and practices of the post-World War II anthropologists who have focused on Mediterranean societies, but most importantly in their findings. During this period, anthropologists chose to focus their studies exclusively on very isolated rural societies. The study of these societies was limited to a discourse of similar analytical categories such as honour, shame, virginity, patriarchy, morality, public-private sphere, with minimal reflection upon issues of diversity and change. These accounts reproduced certain stereotypes which, according to more contemporary scholars, were elaborated to enhance a conceptual unity of Mediterranean cultures.47 The decision to focus on rural societies was influenced by a contemporary trend situated within a broader context of western European concerns about colonialism which tended to treat less economically and socially developed countries as exotic.48 In addition, it can be argued that the anthropological interest in Mediterranean societies was a result of a period of intense modernization in the West which enlarged the public and academic curiosity for societies ‘forgotten’ by change and time. In this way, by creating a unified ‘exotic’ Mediterranean, the West sought to describe its ‘other’ in order to define itself. Similar approaches are reported in the influential works of Said (1978) and Todorova (1997) who describe a process in which the West tried to locate its identity through a social, cultural, religious, historical, geographical and moral opposition to a homogenized Orient or Balkan. Thus, Mediterraneanism can be regarded as another product of the same concerns that created Orientalism and Balkanism, placing the ‘other’ in Europe’s periphery. By insisting on the description of hegemonic gender models and behaviours within the code of honour and shame, the analytic value of early anthropological research on Mediterranean rural societies remained somewhat limited. Ethnographers insisted on the description of systems as consisting solely of


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heterosexual men gaining and confirming their manliness in the public sphere, and heterosexual women remaining attached to domesticity and passiveness. Gender had been repeatedly discussed within this static framework which Herzfeld intelligently describes as consisted of ‘exoticizing devices’.49 The anthropological study of Greece was not an exception to this general Mediterranean model. Following the example of the homogeneous anthropological approach towards Mediterranean cultures, early ethnographers put honour and shame in the centre of their analysis.50 Their growing interest for rural micro societies resulted in the development of a substantial volume of literature in terms of method, practice and findings. Moreover, the constant repetition of more or less the same analytical categories created very powerful representations of Greece that gradually became a reference point for many scholars engaged in historical, sociological and anthropological studies.51 In some cases this elaboration of anthropological findings in different disciplines within the humanities or by later anthropologists resulted in their misinterpretation. According to Herzfeld, early anthropologists were quite careful not to generalize their observations to draw conclusions about Greek society or even Greek rural society as a whole.52 However, later researchers who used their observations53 or carried out their own ethnographies54 did not follow the same strategy, thus resulting in the formulation of a broad typicality. Although the work of anthropologists is admittedly important for the understanding of social institutions and gender relations during the period in question, it can be argued that it has left a series of important issues out of its research focus. This includes issues of social change, changes in gender relations, and the existence of diversity in the ways people experienced their gender roles. For example, early anthropological accounts refer to the interaction of male and female spheres, but they do not adequately decode the complex ways in which the formation of gender identities is influenced by the ‘other’. A deconstruction of social realities is expected to go beyond the creation of successful households, the protection of female chastity and the public-private exhibition of female obedience which have been repeatedly emphasized. Thus, the first anthropological projects became an extended narration of a ‘hegemonic’ and well-known patriarchal model. Space, labour, behaviour, morality, sexuality, family, the whole cosmos of rural Greece has been perceived and depicted as a one-dimensional reality, closely related to an a priori, dichotomous male versus female model. Apparently, this approach left unquestioned a series of issues which could demonstrate probable diversity and plurality in

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gender experiences, relations and hierarchies. In other words, while gender is regarded as one of the most determinative entities in the formation of social order and distribution of power, very little is said about subordinate or alternative masculinities and femininities. One could hypothesize that even if we accept the dominance of traditional patriarchal models in rural Greece, such an unequal distribution of power and such an inflexible system of gender relations would have probably led to the formation of alternative or marginalized types of men and women. For example, within the paradigm of heterosexual hegemony, ethnographies failed to report anything not only about the presence but even the ‘absence’ of homosexuality. In addition, their tendency to essentialize and naturalize the code of honour and shame left no space for reference to men and women who ‘failed’ to reach hegemonic moral standards such as ‘emancipated’ or ‘immoral’ women, impotent pater familias or physically-mentally ill people. These issues are virtually absent from the agenda of the ethnographers – at least until the mid-1980s – who tended to draw upon a hegemonic model of Greek rural society. In this way, anthropologists did not give voice to the weaker parts of rural societies which were likely to have remained mute within such a powerful patriarchal model. This is an expression of a major concern in the field of social anthropology; the risk that the observation of ethnographers may form a hegemonic narration which does not necessarily reflect accurately upon the experiences and ethos of the societies under study.55 A further important point is that anthropologists, when analysing gender, did not equally emphasize on male and female roles. The description of Greek culture as a male-dominated phenomenon left women in the position of being described merely as ‘mute objects’. As Kourvetaris and Dobratz argue, this idea of muteness derives from the fact that in Greece, as well as in other Mediterranean cultures, both husbands and wives when entering the public sphere used to put on a ‘façade’ and behave according to the dominant sociocultural norms. Thus, men always seemed to identify with the role of the ‘master-provider’ and women with the subordinate role of ‘wives-mothers’. But in the less obvious private sphere, inside the rural house, significant alterations of this model may have taken place, with women exercising much more power directly and indirectly.56 This has been acknowledged by some anthropologists as ‘the problem of women’.57 However, the ‘self-exoticism’ of the object of observation has been a general concern in anthropology which by nature can offer only partial views of social phenomena especially if these hide behind the ‘impenetrable’ walls of private spheres. In the 1980s, the acknowledgement


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of this ‘problem’ led anthropologists to focus more on the lives of women as energetic agents of every society. The extensive study of women that followed had an important contribution not only in terms of challenging stereotyped ideas about men and women as social actors but also to the better conceptualization and theorization of culture and society. Since the mid-1980s, this has led to a more relational study of gender within anthropology which has recognized manhood and womanhood as mutually constitutive processes.58 Apart from the depiction of gender as a set of fixed roles, categories and activities, anthropological literature during the period in question paid little attention to issues connected to social change. One could challenge this argument by claiming that during the period under investigation Greece was indeed a typical example of a backward Mediterranean society in which the factors that might have provoked change in the social or the gender order were negligible. This idea of ‘backwardness’ is common not only in the Greek case but also in other Mediterranean cultures.59 While not examining the case of other Mediterranean societies here, this ‘solid backwardness’ was definitely not the case for Greece. The deep social, cultural, political, economical and demographical changes the country went through during the 1950s and 1960s had a profound impact on the formation of gender identities and family organization.60 Early ethnographical accounts left these issues virtually unquestioned, insisting on descriptions of similar patriarchal systems and thus portraying rural Greece as one homogenous matrix. As Kirtsoglou suggests, the literature in question ‘failed to view gender identities as multiple, fluid and context-dependent’.61 This failure could be attributed to the fact that despite the tremendous social change in Greece, early anthropologists were not concerned with what was happening at the core of this phenomenon in urban centres. Instead, they preferred to work exclusively in small peasant communities, geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the country. Their analysis would have been much more multidimensional if they had included a brief study of the cities even only as a comparison point to approach the process of this urban-rural interaction. Their persistence in the selection of rural areas for fieldwork created the impression that ‘anthropologists work alone and that they cannot therefore grasp the complexities of the cities’.62 However, the anthropologists’ inability to depict social and cultural change in Greece should not be regarded as an indigenous phenomenon. One of the major concerns in anthropology during the last decades has been the question of how it is possible to address and interpret

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social change, cultural transfers and the dissemination of new ideas through field observation. Recent works on issues like modernity, migration and globalization from a socio-anthropological perspective confirm a promising shift of the discipline towards this direction.63 To summarize, anthropological accounts of Greece during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s can be criticized on the following grounds: they failed to decode the complex ways in which gender identities were formulated, they tended to provide single-dimensional accounts of rural societies, they paid insufficient attention to alternative gender models and they neglected to study change. Numerous factors can be said to have contributed to these shortcomings. Some are intrinsic to the discipline of anthropology, such as the difficulty to fully describe the complexity solely through field observation, or the inability of the ethnographer to observe private places. However, there are also other factors which can help explain why the anthropological accounts of this period present the picture that they do. First, anthropologists were at the time fascinated by the study of isolated rural communities which allowed them to reaffirm their assumptions of ‘exotic’ social norms. For this reason they applied the same research methods, questions and theories in the Mediterranean as they did when studying ‘primitive’ societies in the Amazon or Africa.64 Second, they treated the Mediterranean area as a homogeneous cultural field and thus transferred cultural traits from one place to another, applying similar research questions to the entire Mediterranean region. This is not to say that Mediterranean countries did not share anything in common, rather it is to suggest that the description of social culture should have been undertaken with greater consideration for the specificities of each area. Third, as Davis states, anthropologists during the 1950s and the 1960s did not make explicit comparisons of their findings. This lack of comparison deprived their work of controversy, variation and potential interest for new challenges within or outside their discipline.65 Fourth, anthropologists of this period showed little concern for the history and time-scale dimension of their case studies. As Davis argues: It is quite rare to read, for example, about the systems of stratification that preceded those observed by the authors of the monographs, and writers have neglected to show how a contemporary system may be related to what is known of its precursors.66

Concluding, anthropological literature on rural Greece seems to carry the same weaknesses as well as the same strengths of similar studies in the broader


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area of the Mediterranean. The discussion here does not aim to create an impression that it is unimportant or useless for contemporary researchers. On the contrary, an extended knowledge of its methods, tools, findings and limitations can provide the background for its better understanding and thus increase its analytical value. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s it was the only body of literature to focus so extensively on social institutions and on the relations between men and women. Consequently, it can be fairly argued that even if it does not look at the whole picture of the Greek society at the time, it does provide important insights. In this way, it is a unique source for the investigation of the major values, ideas, and beliefs of the Greek rural societies. Even if they do not manage to provide a multidimensional picture of male and female identities, anthropologists still offer valuable information by noting the values that constitute the ‘backbone’ of a traditional Mediterranean society. It should also be added that during the last three decades anthropological studies on Greece have been more comparative, controversial and multidimensional mainly because of their increasing interest in social change, the interaction between urban and rural, the alteration of moral values and the impact of modernity.67 Through this self-reflection, anthropology has made an important effort to move beyond repeated categories and methods and shift towards the search of patterns of variation in the construction of identity and selfhood. Acknowledging the ‘limitations’ of the early anthropological literature does not imply its rejection, on the contrary, it allows for a better understanding, interpreting and using it in a historical context.

Greek society in transition and change In addition to social anthropologists, a series of other researchers – sociologists, economists, demographers, social historians, cultural historians, gender historians – have been interested in examining the post-war Greek society. Despite not focusing specifically on gender issues, social changes in multiple perspectives and the reconstruction of contexts have a central place in their analysis which sheds light on how the social and cultural transformations affected the lives of Greek men and women. The study of this literature enhances our understanding of the complexities in the construction and reconstruction of masculinities and femininities during a period when the traditional patriarchal

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model was repeatedly challenged by tremendous social transformations. The following pages provide an overview of the most important changes in Greek society which became the background of what we could call the ‘advent of modernity’. It is argued that the Greek modernity of the 1950s and 1960s, expressed through major changes in economy, consumerism, fashion, entertainment, demography, labour and education, redefined longstanding moral values, family organizations, gender spheres and hierarchies. It is broadly accepted by scholars focusing on modern Greece that the social transformations of the 1950s and the 1960s are closely related to changes in the Greek economy. Indeed, the post-war development of the ruined Greek economy was tremendous and had a multidimensional impact on Greek society. Even social constructions that had appeared static and solid altered significantly through a process of development and modernization. When the civil war ended in 1949, the terrible losses of the Greek nation became apparent. Official estimations concluded that in the period 1946–9 at least 80,000 people died, 20,000 were imprisoned or detained in concentration camps while approximately 5,000 executions made the bloodshed even greater. To survive from the constant fighting, about 700,000 people became refugees in their own country while another 80–100,000 left Greece to seek a new home in various parts of the Communist World.68 Moreover, the war left behind a ruined countryside, a derelict industrial infrastructure and a bankrupt national treasury. A possible return of the Greek economy and society to a stable state was expected to be long and extremely difficult. Yet, sooner than anyone had expected, the post-civil war governments managed by the early 1950s to reach the pre-war economic standards. Of crucial importance in this development were the considerable levels of American aid that gave a decisive boost to the Greek efforts. The strategic location of the country was the main reason for millions of American dollars to pour into Greece during the early years of the Cold War: $1,237,500 between 1947 and 1950, $181,000,000 in 1951–2 and $21,300,000 in 1953.69 Scholars focusing on this impressive economic phenomenon offer several interesting observations. In 1959, the volume of industrial production was double that of 1938, and was tripled by 1964. The amount of electrical energy produced in 1961 was ten times greater than in 1938, while tourism and maritime trade were the two sectors with the most remarkable growth rates. By the early 1950s, Greek ship-owners succeeded in reaching their pre-war tonnage, while by the 1970s they managed to create a world-class competitive fleet. Tourism in Greece, a phenomenon with strong


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economic as well as social transformative power, did not exceed 100,000 visitors in 1938, but this number grew five times by 1961 to reach two million tourists per year by the late 1960s.70 However, along with the high rates of productivity, this economic comeback was accompanied by two negative characteristics of Greek economy: (a) an increase in economic inequality and (b) the growing marginalization of those employed in the low and medium levels of production. In addition to these factors, and despite the high growth rates, some characteristics typical of underdeveloped or newly capitalized economies were also present. As Mouzelis argues, the post-war Greek economic development was escorted by ‘a low-productivity agriculture, a highly inflated and parasitic sector, and an industrial sector unable to absorb the reluctant agricultural labour force’.71 Moreover, the post-civil war governments did not take adequate measures to support the lower classes. On the contrary they introduced a financial policy which aimed at the economic development through the further suppression of working-classes. Karayiorgas and Pakos argue that this policy lasted for three decades (1945–75) and derived from the belief that for the re-creation of a powerful economy lower incomes should be suppressed and the profits of companies maximized. Thus, in combination with a convenient taxation policy, the big capitalists had strong motives to invest. What these governments did not predict was that by applying these measures, behind the vivid picture of a zestful economy, the lower classes would have tremendous surviving problems especially in periods of inflation.72 The new post-war reality led many people to leave their homes and seek a better life in the urban centres or abroad. As a result, internal and external migration intensified in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s causing multiple economic, social and cultural transformations. Before interpreting the reasons that led hundreds of thousands of people to migrate within their country or abroad, it is important to appreciate the dimensions of the disaster faced by rural Greece in the aftermath of the wars. According to Gallant, over 5,000 villages had been razed, large swaths of the landscape lay uncultivated and approximately two thirds of the rural population were suffering from malaria. The numbers of sheep, goats and cattle had been severely depleted and one third of forests had been destroyed.73 Moreover, the tendency of villagers to migrate was enhanced by their admiration of the amenities that their urban counterparts enjoyed. For instance, in 1958, 64 per cent of households in Athens had electricity, and in 1964, 35 per cent had running water. A similar piece of research from 1961, which looked at rural areas, showed that no more than 13 per cent had electricity and 11 per cent running water.74

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Despite the herculean task of reconstructing the countryside that the post-war governments began to undertake as early as 1948, it is not hard to understand why so great a proportion of the rural population decided to resettle in urban centres. Especially for young people, who were less attached to the traditional lifestyle than the older generations, the disadvantages associated with staying in rural communities appeared unbearable. In general terms, young people were more strongly attracted than older generations by the modern technology and culture of the cities which, in addition to the kinds of amenities already mentioned, could also offer them easier access to secondary and higher education.75 The capital city Athens had a central place in the phenomenon of internal migration. The unexpected size of its growth had a deep impact in Greek society; within a period of twenty years the population of Athens doubled – from 1,378,500 habitants in 1951 to 2,540,200 in 1971 – concentrating almost one third of the population of the country. Apart from Athens, only Thessaloniki is even remotely comparable in terms of such exceptional growth rates. Even though Thessaloniki remained the second largest city in the country, its population did not exceed 557,360 inhabitants in 1971, and thus it stood at just a little more than a quarter of that of the capital. More general statistics show clearly how the whole demographic character altered, transforming Greece from a largely rural to a more urban-centred country by the 1970s.76 Table 1.1  Reasons for abandonment of the countryside (1962)1 % Lack of job opportunities Lack of land Lack of educational opportunities Family and health reasons Other reasons Reasons not declared Total 1

 83.5   6.2   1.9   1.6   6.0   0.8 100.0

  Karapostolis (1983: 178)

Table 1.2  Population of Greece 1961–711 Population





Urban Semi-Urban Rural Total

3,628,105 1,085,856 3,674,592 8,388,553

 43.2  13.0  43.8 100.0

4,667,489 1,019,421 3,081,731 8,768,641

 53.2  11.7  35.1 100.0


  Karapostolis (1983: 305)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

The demographic transformation of Greece did not leave the way people perceived, experienced and constructed their gender roles unaffected. Masculinity, as well as femininity, were re-evaluated, altering the traditional determination of gender spheres, values and behaviours. In fact, the attraction of rural populations to big cities or provincial towns transformed the once relatively homogeneous urban centres into polymorphic melting pots of different mentalities and lifestyles. In particular, the 1950s were a period during which different cultural elements of the mixed urban population interacted with each other leading gradually to the construction of new social identities. In this process of mutual transition and change, it would not be right to assume that the modernity of Athens and other cities simply dominated over the ‘intruding’ traditional ways of living and thinking. As far as gender is concerned, despite the obvious trend towards a more westernized reality, signs of continuity of older Greek traditions, within a revised, urban-oriented model of patriarchy, remained evident for several decades. According to McNeil, this point has been obscured by the well-established assumption that everybody that left the countryside for an urban centre was doing so ‘with the idea of putting behind them all the things that were making village life inferior to the life of Athens or Thessaloniki’.77 Even though the admiration of urban amenities was the major reason for the migration of peasants, it would be naïve to assume that the hundreds thousands of former villagers were passively absorbed by a ‘superior’ lifestyle.78 This is not to say that the internal migrants were not influenced to a great extent by the lifestyle of the big cities. Rather, the statements above clarify that this was a process of interaction, and not mere domination. Maybe the unexpected vulnerability of the urban lifestyle both to foreign – mainly European and American – cultural elements and to behaviours, values and beliefs of rural origin can be fairly explained by the fact that Greece did not have a long tradition of metropolitan life which would have established a solid, indigenous urban lifestyle. Even the capital city of Athens did not have more than 50,000 residents in 1870. Thus, while as one would expect, the values of urban life undermined the traditional values of the countryside, to an extent this process applied vice versa with certain urban values and social institutions having rural or provincial origins. We can also talk about significant similarities in the ways that people in rural and urban areas experienced their gender roles. For example, as far as masculinity is concerned, in both urban and rural contexts, obligations to the family, the morality of all members of the family and

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


the need for social recognition of the success as a householder remained the greatest anxieties for men.79 In this context, internal migration worked as a cultural bridge in three ways. First of all, thousands of peasant Greeks settled in cities, a movement which had a profound impact on their lifestyle. Second, these new inhabitants significantly altered the cultural character of the cities since in some areas they constituted over half the total population. Third, the internal migrants, who often visited their home towns and villages and had constant contact with their relatives in the villages, enhanced the cultural transfers from the urban centres to the rural periphery. Especially during the late 1960s it was obvious that many Greek villages experienced numerous changes in the style of living as a result of increasing influences of urban origin. Therefore, the 1950s and 1960s can be fairly characterized as a transitory period during which general moral, ethical or cultural categories prove insufficient in terms of determining both the urban and rural population. During these years, central elements of the traditional value system either persisted in the new urban contexts (with or without significant changes in the way they were interpreted), or were replaced by completely new ones. The urban centres were also influenced by foreign ideas and attitudes that derived from either the media or the growing number of tourists. According to Karapostolis, the cultural confusion which appeared in the cities due to internal migration, acted like a shield in terms of deflecting foreign influences from the Greek tradition which were keenly incorporated especially by the upper classes.80 Thus, during the period in question Greek cities were becoming places of intense interaction between various cultural elements, some of them complementary but many of them conflicting. From the mid-1950s onwards, migration (internal and external) and various non-agricultural sources of income were among the solutions elaborated by peasants in order to adjust their lives to the new consumer culture. There was no tendency to minimize the extra needs that suddenly appeared. On the contrary, upgrading to a higher, more luxurious lifestyle was considered as an honourable deed, lending superior prestige to the head of the family able to afford such demanding expenses. Thus, while in previous decades the honour of the family depended almost entirely on the moral code of honour and shame, as we move from the 1950s to the 1960s the mimesis of urban lifestyle means that the economic robustness of the family constitutes an extra major criterion for its social stratification.81 This was particularly obvious in relation to material culture, an area where the villager,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema without the sophisticated defence that a sense of cultural relativity or comparative aesthetics might give him, is convinced that almost any object of urban or European origin must be superior to anything that is the product of local and traditional craftsmanship.82

But the influences were not restricted to this sphere. Honour, instead of being measured mainly in relation to the traditional sex-linked virtues, started to depend on the display of a lifestyle similar to urban prototypes (e.g. innovated material culture, educated children, etc). While virtue did not become irrelevant, it certainly lost some of its importance. This is also evident in terms of sexual morality. Virginity before marriage remained a normative social value, but it was also the case that fashionable clothes appearing even in villages by the mid-1960s, started to reveal female sexuality in contrast with the traditional clothing which fully covered it. But with the acceptance of the attraction of the male gaze, it was more difficult for moral criteria to maintain their sharpness. Thus, the consequences for an unmarried pregnant girl, for example, became less certain and severe, provided marriage eventually took place.83 Especially during the 1960s, we can talk about a less antithetical consumer ideology between the residents of rural and urban areas. According to Karapostolis, in terms of consumerism we can divide the period 1945–75 in two sub-periods: (a) the period of sharp divisionism (1945–60) when the dichotomy in ruralurban lifestyle increased, and (b) the period of unification (1960–75) when this dichotomy became less intense.84 However, during the second period, an equal status between rural and urban lifestyle cannot be assumed since the hardships of agricultural life still constituted a great obstacle. This is confirmed by the unequal development of services in the cities and the countryside, with the rate being two times faster in the first than in the latter. Moreover, various items, amenities or professions maintained their connection with a high-lass lifestyle for much longer in the villages than in the cities. For example, in some instances cars or imported cigarettes and alcoholic drinks continued to be regarded as luxury items in villages until the early 1980s, while in Athens they had become commodities by the mid-1960s. Similarly, while being a clerk in the cities was regarded as an average profession, in the countryside clerks even in small businesses were part of the local elite.85 As the following table shows, the private consumption in Greece increased dramatically in comparison with other countries during the period 1961–77. The search for a better quality of life led many Greeks to external migration. We can separate the migration movement during the post-war era into two

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


Table 1.3  Increase of private consumption for the period 1961–771 Greece Portugal Spain France Holland Italy Austria Belgium Germany Finland Turkey Ireland Norway Denmark Switzerland Sweden UK Japan Canada USA 1

142% 124% 114%  98%  96%  89%  87%  81%  79%  73%  66%  64%  64%  57%  50%  40%  34% 184%  83%  65%

  Tsoukalas (1986b: 312)

main migration streams. During the first one, which started in the 1950s and peaked during the mid-1960s, hundreds thousands of Greeks mainly from urban areas left their homeland permanently to find jobs in other countries. In the beginning, the most popular destination was the USA, but a change in the US migration law meant that Greek workers had to find alternative destinations. Among these alternatives, Canada and Australia were the countries that attracted most of the migrants. The second migration stream was directed to destinations closer to Greece. It consisted of Greeks who searched for work in various countries of Europe. It was also different than the first one in the sense that most of these later migrants left their homeland with the intention of returning as soon as they saved enough money for a specific purpose, commonly for accumulation of a dowry for sisters-daughters, purchase of land or the start of a small business.86 So, at least theoretically, this was a temporary escape from Greece, often for countries like Belgium, Sweden, Italy and especially the Federal Republic of Germany. In the latter, approximately half a million Greeks were working as guest workers during the 1960s.87 According to some estimation the net migration abroad for the period 1946–74 was 666,355 plus approximately 200,000 temporary migrants who returned during this


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

period. From these migrants, the number of those who left Greece to improve their existing situation or save money for some investment was three times greater than those who went abroad because there was no way to secure an income back home.88 For the Greek economy the two migration streams were very important since they relieved the economy from the surplus demand for labour in the cities, a factor which was for the most part a result of the massive internal migration movement. Within the patriarchal framework, migration acquired ambiguous gender connotations and this was especially the case regarding masculinity. Economic migration was often regarded as a male deed, since a man was seen to be following a road full of hardships in order to fulfil his obligations as a provider – father, brother or husband. Yet the male migrant did not only represent a heroic subject but also a rather ‘disempowered figure caught in and ruled by powers and structures beyond his own control’.89 In these terms, a migrant was both brave but also in a sense ‘inadequate’ of matching the masculine requirements while staying in his homeland. In correspondence with this image of man in migration was a heroic female figure, normally of a mother or wife, who was left behind. ‘The women in the homeland’, as they were collectively named, led joyless lives, perpetually awaiting the return of their migrant male kin. Migration had also a deeper impact on gender relations since it promoted homo-sociality. On the one hand, we find references to villages that during the 1960s were populated almost entirely by women since all the men were working abroad. It can be fairly assumed that this change in local populations shaped new power relations among those who were left behind. On the other hand, male friendship and companionship were grounded by the absence of Greek women in the places of migration, with men having no option but to live together and support each other with regard to their everyday needs.90 Under these circumstances enhanced proximity and intimacy between men redefined some of the traditional perspectives on male-to-male relationships.

Redefining gender relations By the mid-1960s Greece looked politically, socially, economically and culturally very different in comparison to the early 1950s. Within the new framework, gender relations altered significantly. The protagonists in the changes were those

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


who had traditionally appeared weak and subordinated. In the cities, women begun to escape from the passive role they had been restricted to within the limitations of traditional patriarchy. Of the thousands of women who settled in the urban centres during the internal migration wave, some were single and stayed with relatives until a husband was found. Others were married and joined their husbands in their journey for a better future. Given the gender discriminations and the female oppression present in most rural communities, it is not surprising that women were especially keen on leaving the harsh and socially isolated rural life in order to seek a new start in the big cities.91 The female exodus from the countryside, and especially that of young girls, which had higher rates than that of men, was a phenomenon that started early in the 1950s and reached its peak several decades later. National surveys showed that by 1991, for every 2.3 unmarried boys in Greek countryside there was only one unmarried girl and consequently, many male farmers sought wives among immigrants from Eastern Europe.92 In general, the social relations and practices of those who migrated from the countryside to the urban centres changed in the new environment. Dowries were one such custom that altered significantly. In villages, the dowry worked both as a mechanism to insure that young couples would start their common life with adequate wealth and as a means to create social alliances by bringing closer families of similar economic status. It was so important that families had to agree on it before the formal engagement could take place. In the cities, arranged marriages still occurred but by the mid-1970s the majority of young people married first and only later discussed the dowry arrangements.93 While until the 1960s most women would abandon any paid job after marriage, female labour started to be appreciated as the wife’s contribution to the household which could even replace the offer of a house or apartment as a dowry.94 This becomes clear if one takes a comparative look at the ‘match-making advertisements’ in newspapers during the 1950s and 1960s. While dowry continued to be a necessary aspect of ‘advertising’ a potential bride, from the late 1950s onwards a woman’s paid job came to be understood as an extra advantage for a successful marriage.95 But the dowry system changed significantly in rural areas as well. Marriages with urban men were regarded as the highest success for an agricultural family.96 With the brides migrating to the cities, dowry in the form of agricultural fields in her place of origin became meaningless. Thus, fathers and brothers could perform their obligation towards the females of the family by selling the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

analogous property and giving the money as dowry to the newly married couple. This alteration to the dowry system was often used in order to attract grooms from the cities.97 Another change in traditional lifestyle related to the treatment of the elderly. In villages a wife was expected to move into the paternal house of her husband, especially if he was the elder son of a family, and live under the authority of her mother-in-law. In big cities like Athens, this trend continued in many cases. However, sometimes elderly relatives had to move into the homes of their younger kin. Furthermore, the appearance from the mid-1960s onwards of care homes for the elderly points to the creation of a new need and signifies social changes. The demands of an urban lifestyle changed family patterns significantly also in terms of birth control. From the mid-1930s until the mid-1970s the national birth rate fell from 26.5 to 15.9 per 1,000; on a short-scale this meant that commonly the maximum number of children couples wanted tended to be two or three.98 Despite this general decline, the average age at childbirth fell, with the rates of fertility increasing in the groups of women aged from 15 to 24 years old. It is also worth noting that the results of researches during the 1950s and 1960s have shown that women attending secondary and higher education would probably become mothers later than women with primary or no education. Given that women in the cities often enjoyed more advanced education, it was expected that women in rural areas would experience motherhood earlier.99 Births out of the wedlock remained extremely rare – not more than 1.2 per cent of all births – thus proving that the traditional disapproval of single motherhood persisted. The high number of abortions confirms this statement although available national statistics do not show precisely to which extent abortion was used as a mechanism of controlling extramarital fertility.100 The impact of migration is also evident here. While during the early 1960s the average rate of childbirth in the countryside was higher than in the capital, the analogy was reversed by 1980–2. This has to be seen as another consequence of the abandonment of the villages for urban centres in Greece and abroad by youth of reproductive age. Apart from migration, other factors which seem to have caused the general decrease of fertility are the increased participation of the population in higher education, the increased female labour, the high number of abortions and the high rates of infant mortality.101 In addition to these, birth control was often achieved by the use of various methods of contraception. However, the high rates of abortion by surgery indicate the limited overall success of contraception in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s.

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


Table 1.4  Frequency distribution of contraceptive methods (%) used in each age group in rural and urban regions of Greece 19651 Wife age


Less than

With- Condrawal dom

Abort- All With- Conions Others drawal dom

Abort- All ions others

20 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 50+ Total

65.2 66.9 70.4 67.8 64.8 66.7 65.2 71.5 71.4 69.8 62.7 70.2 67.4

–  3.2  3.0  4.8  5.6  6.1  7.6  7.7  9.1 11.3 13.3 12.8  5.7

 5.7  8.1 10.8  9.3 19.4 18.4 20.6 16.4 14.8 17.7 – – 14.5

26.1 21.4 17.6 19.1 21.5 19.6 21.2 15.0 15.6 17.0 17.8  8.5 19.3


8.7 8.5 9.0 8.3 8.1 7.6 6.0 5.8 3.9 1.9 6.2 8.5 7.6

42.9 47.3 46.0 47.7 41.7 38.7 30.2 43.3 37.0 29.4 – – 41.7

40.0 31.2 34.1 34.6 29.9 32.8 34.6 38.8 40.7 17.7 – – 33.2

11.4 13.4  9.1  8.4  9.0 10.1 14.6  1.5  7.5 35.2 – – 10.6

Wife age


Less than




All others

20 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 50+ Total

55.2 60.5 61.4 61.6 57.9 58.8 56.6 63.1 62.5 64.3 62.7 63.8 59.9

31.0 24.6 23.7 23.8 24.0 23.3 24.5 20.8 22.1 18.6 17.8 12.8 23.3

 3.5  4.8  5.9  6.2  9.7  9.6 10.8  9.9 10.6 13.0 13.3 14.9  8.5

10.3 10.1  9.0  8.4  8.4  8.3  8.1  6.2  4.8  4.1  6.2  8.5  8.3


  Valaoras, Polychronopoulou, and Trichopoulos (1965: 277)

Once established in cities, the majority of migrant women searched for a wage job outside the household. The following statistical data for the period 1951–71 offer a very interesting perspective of this new reality in the labour market. Waged labour was a huge step towards the emancipation of women, since for many of them it was the first time they were allowed work on a regular

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema


Table 1.5  Economically active women by marital status in Greece, 1951–81 (%)1 Year



Widowed/ Divorced


1951 1971

28.0 39.7

10.0 23.7

16.1 15.8

16.7 25.9


  Simeonidou (2004: 150)

Table 1.6  Economically active female population (aged 14 years old and over) by

groups of occupations in Greece 1961–71 (%)1 Groups of occupations



Professional, technical and liberal professions Administrative, executive and managerial personnel Office employees Trades and sales Service employees Industrial and transport workers Farmers, loggers and related workers Not classifiable

 3.7 –  5.8 –  7.6 12.9 65.5  4.5

 7.0  0.2  9.0  5.0  9.4 15.6 52.8  1.0


  Maratou-Alipranti (2004a: 119)

Table 1.7  Percentage distribution of the economically active Greek population by sex and large occupational category1 WOMEN


Occupational Category

1961 %

1971 %

Change 1961 % %

1971 %

Change %

Professional and managerial Clerical, commerce and services Agriculture, husbandry and forestry Skilled and unskilled workers (except in agriculture) Not declared Total = 100















– 7.8






– 5.8




  Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 189)


 4.5  0.8 –82.6 1,193,800 1,165,100 –2.4

 2.4  1.2 –54.4 2,444,800 2,329,600 –4.7

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


basis outside the traditional domestic domain.102 The new economic standards of the city made it very hard for men to continue as the sole providers for the household, at least this was the case for the lower classes, especially when they had to carry the extra burden of the dowry for their sisters or daughters. This was only the beginning of the process of female emancipation. However, elements of the traditional gender status of power continued to shape the relations between men and women. For example, men continued to be the main providers of income while a woman’s role was primarily to keep the household in order. Women could enjoy the public sphere and escape their domestic realm but they remained under male authority and control. This did not make their role inferior to that of their husbands – they were both considered as essential for the creation of a family – but certain traditional elements which used to dichotomize space, time and behaviour in gender terms persisted.103 For example, even in this major change of female labour, patriarchal control usually dictated that women were only to work in jobs that were regarded as ‘proper’ for females. Thus, women commonly worked as domestic servants or in manufacturing, especially in the textile and food service industries. Also, it was very rare to find a woman holding a prestigious post in high-income professions, even though a high proportion of female applicants were educationally more qualified than men.104 Nor was there an equal participation of both genders in the workforce; by 1960 just a little more than a quarter of the whole female population had any kind of profession. Women were also more vulnerable to unemployment and since the employers were aware of the likelihood that female employees would abandon their jobs after getting married, they offered them a reduced salary. During the 1960s women doing the same job as male counterparts would rarely receive more than two thirds of their salary.105 Moreover, as tolerated by the state, gender discriminations remained remarkably intense in civil service. Women were excluded from the judicial body, diplomatic service, the military and security corps and from the higher levels of the archaeological service, the national chemistry and the post office, while many legal restrictions deprived them of the chance for promotion in various other departments. What is surprising is that such discrimination continued to take place despite the fact that since September of 1953, Greece according to a treaty within the United Nations signed by all its members, was obliged to offer equal job opportunities in the civil service to all its citizens, male or female.106 Maybe the only major accomplishment towards a more egalitarian


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

state in gender terms was that the 1952 Constitution granted women the right to vote. Three years later, for the first time in modern Greek history, women voted in national elections, in which Lina Tsaldaris headed the conservative list in Athens to become the first ever woman minister, in charge of the ministry of Social Welfare.107 However, especially in civil service gender discrimination seems to have remained intense for longer outside the capital city of Athens. As Tsiomou-Vasilikou mentions, while in Athens, women made relatively substantial steps towards their emancipation from male control and increased their participation in politics, in Thessaloniki – the second largest city in Greece – this process remained in an infant stage: ‘Here women are still doomed to spend their lives playing cards, drinking, smoking and following fashion; this is just what their husbands want them to do!’108 In these terms the change in gender relations and spheres should not be seen and analysed as a revolutionary phenomenon, but as a complex process which followed different paces in each part of the country. According to Gallant, women’s extra work outside the household was socially perceived quite differently from that of men. While a man continued to be considered as the main provider for the house, women were supposed to work only until they married. Marriage was synonymous with the return to a traditional lifestyle, with women taking over domestic duties and raising children. ‘What we see in the 1950s and 1960s in the city, then, is the beginning of a transition in gender as new aspects were introduced while old ones, rooted in the rural past, persisted’.109 It is for these reasons that if we take a closer look at the increased economic activity of women during the 1960s and examine it statistically in relation to their marital status, we can see clearly that the highest rates occurred among single women while the rates are much lower for the married, divorced or widowed.110 Even as late as the 1970s when a considerable liberation to social legislation promoted a more egalitarian status between the two sexes, the economic framework did not present analogous alterations. Men were still expected to undertake the most significant responsibilities outside the household leaving to women an auxiliary domestic role. Even as late as the mid-1980s social studies in Athens have shown that 55 per cent of women did not have any help with household duties while only a 15 per cent were helped by their husbands on a regular basis.111 Furthermore, masculinity was still firmly connected with providence and the public sphere and a wife was not expected to get involved in the making of decisions about serious financial issues. This discrimination was even more intense in matters of family property

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


and inheritance. With business still considered a man’s job, a son maintained the indisputable advantage against his sisters in terms of inheriting the economic recourses of the family, regardless of whether he was capable of running them or not. In these terms, instead of promoting a more egalitarian status between men and women, the weakening of the dowry system during the period under investigation seemed to work against the financial interests of the latter who were still encouraged to take jobs that would be easily dropped after marriage or motherhood.112 The continuities of traditional views of gender during the 1950s and 1960s should also be examined in relation to the delayed and weak feminist movement in Greece. Feminism managed to evolve only after the end of the Colonels’ dictatorship (1974), and still after this point continued to lack the theoretical and organizational framework of similar movements in Europe. However, this weakness of the feminist movement can be contrasted to women’s social status before the civil war and linked with their status after its end. It is interesting to see how a social upheaval and crisis acted as a vehicle for the expansion of women’s roles and in turn how its end led to a return to traditional views of gender roles. During the German occupation, women left their domestic domain and entered the public sphere by participating dynamically in the resistance especially in the leftist organization of Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (E.A.M.) [National Liberation Front], which accepted most of the women’s demands for social reform. Consequently, these women were fighting not only for national liberation but also for the creation of a new society after the war in which they would enjoy gender equality.113 This seemed probable as the restrictive patriarchal system weakened after 1941 mainly due to the loss of properties and dowries and the inability of the males to protect their womenfolk. However, the right-wing victory in the civil war put an end to female ambitions as the defence of the country was seen also as the defence of traditional Greek values.114 But this was not a policy adopted only by the Greek right. Even among the communists women tragically realized that after the defeat: ‘… the comrades became masters again. Yesterday’s brothers-inarms became simply men’.115 Apart from these difficulties, leftist women also had to face post-war propaganda which suggested that the women who participated in the National resistance in the left-wing organizations,116 after breaking the traditional female stereotypes and entering the public sphere had in fact spent their time during the war as prostitutes.117 Conclusively, the post-World War II period at least until the mid-1950s is characterized by the promotion of a ‘back to tradition’ policy, which delayed the creation of an egalitarian state and society.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

To return to the previous discussion about female labour, it is not considered necessary here to make specific references to numerous cases, especially during the 1950s when female labour outside the household was still considered as taboo. It is enough simply to note the huge criticism and disapproval that many working women faced. They were repeatedly mocked and considered to be of loose ethics as a result of the daily contact with men who did not belong to their family.118 It is also worth mentioning that in micro societies where female labour was accepted relatively soon, often women acquired greater independence and sexual liberation sooner than in the rest of the country. Similarly in urban centres, the women who gained first their independence from their husbands, fathers or brothers were those who belonged to middle and lower classes, usually wives or daughters of skilled workers, unskilled labourers, domestic servants, clerks etc. On the contrary, it was more difficult for women who belonged to the patrician class of ‘good metropolitan families’ to be independent and selfresponsible. Even though they were more influenced by Western values and morals and they had easier access to higher education due to their higher social status, commonly their husbands could afford all the economic burdens of the household and thus they remained attached to their household duties.119 Even under these circumstances, however, there are accounts which argue that Greek women of the higher social scale experienced more egalitarian gender relations in comparison with women in other European societies or with women in the United States. According to Close, Greek women during the 1960s were more likely to see themselves as equal partners of their husbands than the American, who were often self-defined as mothers and housewives.120 Despite the general process towards a more egalitarian social and family system for women, the role of the Greek state was not as auxiliary to gender equality as one would expect, leaving the family law unchanged until the early 1980s. Prior to 1981 the family law bill, which was constituted in the 1940s, was based on the assumption that the male is by nature superior to female. Modern ideas about gender equality were clearly stated as late as 1975 when the changed Constitution declared that ‘Greek men and women have the same obligations and the same rights’ (article 4, paragraph 2). This was the beginning for the constitution of the new family law bill which the parliament passed in October 1981, despite the pressures from the Greek Orthodox Church and other conservative circles. Only at this point was the legal sanction of the dominant role of a man within the family abolished along with the dowry.121 Until the

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


establishment of the new family law, religious marriage was the only recognized form of marriage. After 1981 civil marriage became an option, although young couples continued to prefer the traditional religious ceremony over the city hall. Moreover, marital dissolution became much easier, quicker and cheaper, especially in cases of divorce by mutual consent. It is worth mentioning that during the 1950s and 1960s, Greece had one of the lowest numbers of divorces in Europe with only four divorces every one hundred marriages.122 Thus, marriage continued to constitute a socially firm tie, although divorce was legally a choice and up to three marriages were permitted by the ecclesiastical ruling. In general terms, post-war Greece was changing at various paces to become a less male-dominated, male-centred society. The new mixed population and the new economic conditions in the cities played perhaps the most significant role in the change of values. Despite the reinforcement of some traditional elements connected to femininity and masculinity, the bigger picture shows clearly the weakening of the paternal authority. There are various reasons for this alteration. One reason was that women and growing children were able to escape the control of the male head of the family as a result of the new possibilities to find incomes independently. Moreover, by earning their own money, women could satisfy some extra needs like clothing and cosmetics without asking male permission and thus began to establish a luxurious female consumer culture. This contrasted with their traditional role which had its focus at the maintenance of the household, often reducing their own needs to a minimum.123 Apart from access to the world of work, women gained a more respectable position as a result of improved access to the highest levels of education, a traditionally male domain. The participation of women in secondary and higher education was increasing to such a degree that we may speak about the birth of a new middle class female elite in the 1960s which aimed to gain social power by acquiring significant professional posts in the public and private sector. This tendency is also confirmed by the change in the analogy of male and female university students in disciplines which offered preparation for such careers. Furthermore, studies on women’s labour have shown that the highly educated part of the female population enjoyed an increasing range of professional opportunities. On the contrary, women with no or basic education were more likely to prefer to concentrate on their domestic duties than to spend a significant part of their time in low-income jobs.124 In these terms, female labour in well-paid professions, especially in the civil service – a ‘decent’, ‘clean’, secure and well-paid job

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema


Table 1.8  Percentages of men and women in various educational levels1 A. Men 1971



Higher/University  8.0% Education Gymnasium 20.5%






+ 7.8%





Graduates from:



B. Women Graduates from:


Higher/University  5.1% Education Gymnasium 26.1% Others 68.8% 1







33.5% 58.0%

38.1% 39.4%

+12% –29.4%

  Tsoukalas (1986a: 188)

– began slowly but steadily to be considered not as a temporary occupation until marriage but as new form of dowry. According to Lambiri-Dimaki this new tendency was characteristically reflected in a popular motto that could be often heard among the Greek students: ‘A woman’s dowry is her education’.125 Thus, more and more often as we move from the 1960s to the 1970s, the funding of their children’s education was considered by parents as an investment for their children, both male and female.126 This was one of the main reasons why, despite having significantly fewer educational opportunities, youth from rural backgrounds overwhelmed the Greek universities from the early 1960s onwards. Another main cause of this interesting educational phenomenon is the sudden overestimation of education as a means of increasing the honour of a family. Within this context, in villages or small towns the local intelligentsia (doctors, teachers, judges etc) commanded ‘the highest respect and prestige’ and were ‘members of the local upper prestige status’.127 Consequently, almost all rural families wanted at least one of their children – preferably a male – to receive higher education which would offer him either a prestigious living in the village or a well-paid whitecollar job in the city.128 However, students coming from the countryside, especially during the first years of their studies, had serious disadvantages in comparison to their fellows

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


Table 1.9  Percentage distribution of Athens university students by sex and place of origin in 1971 (in a sample of 632 students)1 Place of Origin




Greater Athens Salonica and Patras Towns of 10,000–99,999 inhabitants Country towns of 2,000–9,999 inhabitants Villages of 1,999 inhabitants and fewer No answer

32  4 17 12 34  1

36  5 18 16 24  1

34  5 18 13 29  1


  Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 85)

Table 1.10  Percentage distribution of all first year students (1963–4) of a given class, by sex and large groups of faculties, at university and teacher training college level1 Social Class


Traditional Economics Exact Fine All humanities and Political Sciences Arts students and teaching Sciences of class (x)=100%

Upper (Professional, Technical and Managerial ) Middle (office, clerical) Middle (Trade)







Women 48%





13% 49% 15% 47% 13% 48%

37% 20% 40% 20% 38% 20%

49% 29% 45% 32% 49% 31%

1% 2% – 1% – 1%

(1293) (660) (1261) (676) (2554) (1336)





62% 18% 53% 27% 58%

20% 36% 20% 37% 20%

18% 45% 26% 36% 22%

– 1% 1% – –

(1070) (1954) (912) (5325) (1982)

Men Women Men Women TOTAL MIDDLE Men Women Lower (Agriculture Men workers and farm owners) Women Lower (Manual Men Workers) Women TOTAL LOWER Men Women (NOTE: – =below 1%) 1

  Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 78)

from Athens or Thessaloniki. First of all, they were culturally and socially unfamiliar with the urban and academic environment. Second, due to their early years in rural schools, they had educational gaps (for example, few, if any, foreign languages taught, limited access to books, less time to study etc) and had to try very hard to keep up with the students coming from urban backgrounds.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Last but not least, by the time they arrived in the city, most students had to search for part-time jobs in order to make ends meet, a practice that was less common among the students who had the chance to study without leaving the parental home. Given all these difficulties it is quite impressive that surveys in Greek universities during the early 1960s show that those young people coming from rural environments tended to perform better in the yearly exams than the students with urban middle and urban upper class origins.129 Perhaps the reasons behind this interesting phenomenon relate to the fact that, in villages, education was generally valued very highly. Furthermore, the rural values, morals, ideas, beliefs, experiences and hardships that shaped those students’ character possibly contributed significantly to the creation of stronger and more decisive spirits. It is also interesting to see how those young people who left the countryside to study in the universities became cultural bridges between the rural and the urban lifestyle. First of all, in an internal process, these young people were sooner or later influenced by urban behaviour. Second, by returning during their holidays to their places of origin, they became influential messengers with news of alternatives to traditional lifestyles. In this way, new ideas about gender were reaching distant traditional communities along with new consumer ideologies (i.e modern dressing, listening to foreign music, drinking imported alcoholic drinks etc).130 During the 1950s and 1960s, the development of education was really impressive. Even though the governmental funds for education were only 2.1 per cent of the Gross National Product, a percentage very low not only in comparison with the north European countries but also with developing countries, the people’s desire for educational qualifications was very strong, following a general European trend.131 During the period in question it became clear that secondary or higher education was a potent qualification for anyone seeking a career opportunity, especially in prestigious white-collar professions in the private or public sector. In 1960, over 50 per cent of the civil servants had obtained a university degree and more than the two-thirds of all graduates were absorbed in the public sector.132 In a broader perspective, the participation of the population in secondary and higher education was one of the greatest in Europe. In addition, the Greek educational system was highly democratic, in the sense that the educational opportunities between people of lower and upper social classes seem to have been less differential than in most European countries. Despite the increased participation of women and people of rural background in higher education, class and gender remained two significant parameters

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


Table 1.11  Ratio of the inequalities in educational opportunities between the higher and lower social classes in 19651 Greece (Athens) Norway Belgium Yugoslavia Sweden Switzerland Italy France Germany Austria Holland Spain Luxemburg Portugal 1

1: 7.7 1: 4.8 1: 7.5 1: 9.1 1: 9.6 1: 14 1: 24 1: 27 1: 33 1: 36 1: 50 1: 57 1: 57 1: 59 1: 171

  Tsoukalas (1986b: 274)

Table 1.12 Percentage of gymnasium and university graduates in 19611 Country

Gymnasium graduates

University graduates

Greece Ireland Norway Yugoslavia France Belgium Sweden Austria Italy UK Holland Denmark Switzerland Germany Spain Turkey

17.6% 13.0% 11.5% 11.5% 11.0% 11.0% 11.0% 10.0%  6.5%  6.0%  6.0%  6.0%  5.5%  5.0%  5.0%  2.0%

3.6% – 2.8% 4.3% 3.4% 3.3% 4.3% 1.7% 2.6% 3.4% 1.7% 2.2% 4.7% 2.7% 1.4% –


  Tsoukalas (1986b: 98)

shaping the Greek educational system in the 1950s and 1960s. This is very well supported by censuses within universities. For example, from statistics concentrated on new students for the academic year 1962–3, it becomes clear that the faculties of humanities and teacher training were generally female fields. Over 58 per cent of the total number of female entrants was concentrated in the

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema


schools of humanities – with an exception of theology – while for the same field the percentage for men was only 27 per cent. Similarly, fields like economics, political sciences and medicine remained a male domain with poor percentages of female enrolment. It is also worth mentioning the ratio of the students in relation to their place of origin and gender. For middle class, urban students, one woman entered a university for every two men, while for students from agricultural families this analogy expanded to one to three. Conclusively, in the rural world the engendered inequalities in educational opportunities were more intense than in the cities. In terms of class, the traditional humanities and teaching were generally working-class fields – they were especially popular among students coming from a rural background – while students belonging to economically robust classes were keener to attend exact sciences and medicine. This is not surprising since the length of study was usually longer for the latter disciplines, increasing the costs for the student’s family. It is important to note that such costs included tuition fees since higher education was not free before 1964. Furthermore, in light of the rural and working-class background of most school teachers, Lambiri-Dimaki has rightly raised the question of the extent to which the Greek school as a vehicle for communication to the younger generation of mainly rural and working-class values is a major cultural factor in perpetuating traditional ideas, world views and attitudes and tends to reproduce a lower class culture.133 Table 1.13  Percentage distribution of all first-year entrants (1962–3) by sex and faculty at university and teacher training college level1 FACULTY




Philosophy and Theology Law Education Total Humanities and Teaching Economics and Political Science Medicine and Dentistry Physical Sciences Technology Agriculture Total exact Sciences Fine Arts ALL STUDENTS

 4 13 10 27 30 11 17  8  7 43 – (7615)

20 15 23 58 16 11 10  2  2 25  1 (3640)

 9 13 14 36 26 11 15  6  5 37  1 (11255)


  Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 76)

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


In these terms, it can be fairly argued that to a certain extent Greek primary and secondary education during the 1950s and 1960s reproduced conservative ideas about gender.

Youth: Opportunities, challenges, continuities and new cultures The increased participation in secondary and higher education had a deep impact on Greek society. It reinforced what it seemed inevitable from the mid-1950s; the generation gap. Young people who for various reasons received advanced knowledge via education, found it extremely difficult to deal with the traditional, old-fashioned and restrictive values, ideas and beliefs of the older generations. This communication gap was deepening in the thousands of cases of young people who left their villages to pursue university studies in the cities, not only in relation to their parents but also in relation to their peers who had not chosen the urban lifestyle. The conflict between tradition and modernity was especially intense in the relationships between parents and their daughters. With the traditional value of female shame forbidding any kind of sexual freedom for young women before marriage, the conflict between younger and older generations was inevitable to occur. Young people admired and desired the liberal urban lifestyle and this contributed to their tendency to leave villages. But the reforming power of the new ideas was so great that even rural societies experienced some changes in relation to female sexuality. As Campbell and Sherrard state ‌ since the end of the Civil War urban and Western values which appear to question the civilized propriety and practical sense of fixing upon virginity as a main criterion of feminine uprightness have greatly weakened the certainty of retribution in cases where a girl’s honour is in question.134

In addition to these tensions, young people found it extremely difficult to continue living under the authority of their parents who had much less knowledge than them.135 Consequently, it can be argued that the impressive development of education reinforced a series of discontinuities during the 1950s and 1960s, among them the de-authorization of older generations featuring prominently. A further striking discontinuity was the gap between generations in terms of class experiences. As we move from the 1950s to the 1960s more and more people who grew up in an agricultural environment began to move

Traditional humanities and teaching

Exact sciences

SEX Philosophy, History etc.

Law Education





UPPER (Professional, Technical and Managerial ) Middle (office, clerical) Middle (Trade)


 3 18

14 19

 3 11

20 18

20 15

12  5

5 2


 1 21  3 17  2 19

11 20 10 18 10 19

 1  8  2 12  1 10

11 13 12 14 12 14

21 12 18 13 20 13

11  3 10  3 11  3

6 1 5 2 6 1


 5 14  3 16  4 15

13 19  9 17 12 18

14 29  6 20 11 25

 8  6 12 11  9  8

15  9 21 12 17 12

 1  1  6  2  3  1

7 2 6 1 7 1

Lower (Agriculture workers and farm owners) Lower (Manual Workers) TOTAL LOWER 1

  Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 79)

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema




Table 1.14  Percentage distribution of all first year students (1963–4) of a given class, by sex and faculty within a) Humanities and b) Exact Sciences, at university and teacher training college level1

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


into various white-collar occupations. In this way they stopped sharing the same environment, experiences and anxieties with their elders and came to constitute a new urban middle class which was constantly aiming to ascent to even higher social and economic levels.136 The change in values, ideas and behaviours of the new generation also created some delinquent groups. In response to this phenomenon, a discussion arose about how parents and the state could work together in order to re-moralize the ‘disorientated’ youth and reduce the amoral influences on them. In Greece the appearance of Teddy boys in the late 1950s should be contextualized with reference to the broader European phenomenon of the rising of an aggressive and violent youth culture.137 The new subculture of Teddy boys contrasted many of the traditional values connected to masculinity, femininity and honourable living. Premarital sex, disobedience to the laws of the state, listening to rock music, visits to nightclubs, driving fast cars, minor thefts, the throwing of ‘yogurt bombs’ at rich or important persons, provocation of fights and disobedience of patriarchal authority were only some of the most recognizable elements of the Teddy boy style. This new and ambiguous lifestyle was also complemented by certain features in appearance: blue tight jeans with reversed turnups, tight T-shirts, a swaggering gait and long hair. The state, the press and the Greek Orthodox Church connected these behaviours with the mimesis of foreign habits, and with subcultures coming mainly from the USA through the press and the media. ‘Teddy-boyism’ became synonymous with male amorality and the creation of an alternative masculine stereotype which had very little to do with the traditional moral code of the pallikari [young, honourable male].138 However, the moral crisis did not leave unaffected the female gender. Similarly to Teddy boys, ‘Teddy girls’ or teddyboysses, were accused of amorality not because of high criminality but mainly because they had escaped from the moral code of female ‘shame’, showing little appreciation for the preservation of their virginity. Often these girls escorted boys to crazy parties, consumed large amounts of alcohol and expressed sexual exhibitionism such as stripteasing.139 By the mid-1960s the mini-skirt became the most popular characteristic of these girls’ dress code, a symbolic step towards female sexual emancipation.140 But in this general moral ‘crisis’, the protagonists were predominantly young men since the press tended to refer to the girls as passive pawns who followed in the footsteps of this male immorality without having much sense of their actions.141 The state applied very severe penalties against the Teddy boys aiming at the humiliation and the de-popularization of their actions. After their transfer to a


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

police station the ‘young criminals’ suffered a ‘ritualistic’ punishment; their hair would be shaved off, their jeans shortened, a humiliating placard declaring their crime (‘WE ARE TEDDY-BOYS’) would be hung from their neck and under the escort of policemen they would be forced to march in the main commercial streets of Athens to be mocked by the crowds. This punishment intended to eliminate their influence on others by undermining their status as real men.142 In 1959, parliament passed a special law against youth criminality – known as ‘Law 4000’143 –introducing even more severe penalties for anyone who was recognized as a Teddy boy. The appearance of Teddy boys was an urban phenomenon closely related to the series of changes in the Greek cities of the 1950s and 1960s such as internal migration, increasing unemployment, advanced consumerism, a weakening of patriarchy and, most importantly, cultural transfers arriving from abroad. The conservative part of the press and the church blamed the media and most of all, cinema for promoting criminality, disobedience to the system, premarital sex and disregard for traditional moral values. These worries peaked during the late 1950s when the phenomenon took on far larger proportions and became a problem beyond the sons of the rich Athenian families.144 Young men from the middle and even the lower classes started adopting such marginal behaviours in order to prove their manliness. Conclusively, Teddy boys offered an antithetical alternative to the traditional stereotypes of masculine lifestyle. The revolutionary lifestyle of Teddy boys and Teddy girls can be better appreciated if we take into account specific elements of patriarchal tradition which had remained remarkably unchanged. In many urban settings and suburbs, the destiny of both sons and daughters was to move from the protection of their family to the creation of their own households through marriage. Any form of independent adulthood status, similar to a ‘Western lifestyle’ such as living alone, with a friend or lover was strictly socially unacceptable. Thus, marriage was the only acceptable means for establishing full adulthood and maturity.145 In this context, in order to stay within the moral limits of her subordinate nature, a woman should ideally pass from the protection of her father to that of her husband. Only in this way, a woman could gain a full status and enjoy social life outside her parental house without the fear of negative comments that could stain her ‘good name’. On the other hand, men could more easily postpone marriage and enjoy single adulthood but around the age of 30 the pressures from relatives and friends to find a wife and start a family would intensify. As Hirschon states: ‘An unduly prolonged bachelorhood indicated an avoidance of

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


the status of adulthood, suggesting certain deficiencies in character: weakness, frivolity, and ultimately, lack of masculinity’.146 Moreover, many of the rural traditional values regarding gender maintained the same significance in the lives of internal migrants at least until the late 1950s. For example, the notion of male honour [timi] and its value as a measure for masculinity, female shame [dropi] and its dependence on virginity before marriage and fidelity afterwards, the tasks of the father – the pillar of the house – and the virtues of the proud unmarried lad [pallikari] are only some of the elements of tradition that continued to shape gender relations and define masculinity and femininity within urban settings. In particular, and in spite of the influence of new trends and Western ideas, female virginity never lost its significance among a large part of the population as a criterion of a woman’s morality and this was true in both rural and urban settings. In fact, even during the revolutionary late 1960s there were gynaecologists who were specialized in physically reconstructing the virginity of those who ought not to have lost it.147 Nevertheless, the task of fitting in to a rapidly changing urban environment posed a challenge to traditional values which were altering towards a more modernized version, especially from the 1960s onwards. For instance, male honour became very problematic and fragile since its traditional parameters did not always match with urban life and the advent of new ‘Western’ ideas. The status of dowry also altered significantly in its practice but still persisted to flourish as an institution in urban conditions.148 Also persistent – despite the slow process of female emancipation – was the idea of a virtuous daughter to be kept away from moral ambiguity and the danger of the public sphere until she was married. In general terms, as Campbell put it: Although in contrast with the countryside, life in the two cities of Athens and Thessaloniki and even in the smaller provincial towns reflects a social sophistication and material affluence which in many respects mark the distance between worlds of different physical scale and moral perspective, yet certain institutions of the urban family continue to bear a resemblance to village conventions.149

But there were some significant changes in ideas regarding sexuality from the 1950s to the 1960s and from the rural to the urban settings. While the general concept about female sexuality in the villages was that a woman left unattended from male control would follow what her nature was urging her and seek sexual encounters, this did not seem to be the case in the cities. Women were considered capable of consciously controlling their sexual urges. On the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

contrary, ‘a man’s sexual drive was held to be physiologically imperative, uncontrollable, and diverted only with dire consequences (both masturbation and homosexuality were said to lead to serious mental and physical disorders)’.150 In the light of this perspective, women’s self-ontrol made them responsible for maintaining moral codes. Interestingly, in cases of male infidelity, it was the mistress who would be blamed and punished because she took advantage of the male sexual impulse. Of course, this does not mean that women were emancipated; their morality continued in many terms to be the measure for the ‘good name’ of the family and thus, the patriarchal control would ensure that none of the actions by the females would give excuses for negative comments and gossip in the neighbourhood.151 As far as the code of honour and shame is concerned, it has to be noted that its continuing importance is also confirmed by a series of crimes that took place in Greek cities and the Greek countryside during the post-civil war era. According to Avdela, who studied thoroughly this phenomenon, ‘crimes of honour’152 used to be committed by people with rural origins either when they were in their villages or in cities as internal migrants. Another interesting observation in terms of masculinity is that in most of these crimes both the perpetrator and the victim were men. This kind of crime reached its peak in frequency during the mid-1950s and almost disappeared just before the Colonels’ regime was instituted.153 Consequently, it can be argued that the traditional perception of male honour according to which an insult demands violent punishment, survived in the urban centres for a certain period especially among people with rural backgrounds. The 1950s and 1960s were a transitory period for the perception of honour which overlapped with a redefinition and re-contextualization of femininity and masculinity. What comes out of this antithesis of traditional and modern perceptions of gender is a variety of alternative values and social practices which combine new and old elements. These alternative perceptions of gender were formed within a context of conflict between modernized and traditional concepts of femininity and masculinity. The reduction of these crimes by the mid-1960s was the result of multiple changes in Greek society and the legal system. Criminals would not claim that they committed their crimes for ‘honour’ because both the press and public opinion in the 1960s tended to approach these crimes with more scepticism and, from a legal point of view, the sentences such acts elicited were comparatively more severe. Moreover, especially in the cities, the family became less patriarchal, less male dominated, more egalitarian, undergoing a ‘crisis’ according to some observers or becoming

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


more healthy and ‘westernized’ according to others.154 From both points of view, honour became a weaker value for masculinity, at least in the sense that its insult should no longer lead to bloodshed.

Rethinking masculinity and gender in post-war Greek society From multiple points of view, the 1950s and 1960s in Greece were a period of transition and change. Reports from various fields of social research show that many of the traditional values, ideas and beliefs which used to shape the lives of Greek men and women, were challenged by deep social, economic and cultural transformations and as a result became obscure, problematic and uncertain. But what remains to be clarified is that the picture that post-war Greek society presents is neither black nor white, nor can it be easily determined by general categories or stereotypes. Traditional elements altered significantly during the decades in question, and thus a homogeneous context in which people constructed and experienced their gender identities cannot be assumed. First, the big cities became melting pots of elements of tradition and modernity. Their mixed population tried to find a balance among what had already been experienced from a primarily urban culture, what was imported from the ‘backward’ countryside and what intruded from abroad, mainly via the media and tourism. Second, the countryside followed and admired urban lifestyles although some of these elements contrasted with the traditions of the former. So even if the form of village culture depicted by social scientists did not become extinct, many of the traditional values of localism, family honour, male superiority and female subordination gradually gave way to new social formations. What comes out of this complex procedure is a blend of cultural elements and views of gender, some of them similar and overlapping, others different and conflicting; some of them completely new, while others having their roots in a long tradition with minor or major alterations. In this context, alternative types of masculinity and femininity appeared but at the same time the code of honour and shame maintained much of its importance. In general, for a better understanding of gender, it is of equal importance to study what changed in Greece during the 1950s and the 1960s and what was maintained in tradition. As far as masculinity is concerned, the changes in many elements of male and female spheres, mostly in favour of the latter,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

brought men face-to-face with many uncertainties and anxieties about what constituted their gender identity. This is to confirm the contemporary historical paradigm that changes in the sphere of the one gender inevitably have a deep impact on the sphere of the other. From this perspective, post-war Greece becomes a very interesting case study. Women’s increasing power, along with a series of fundamental social changes, challenged old dominant ideologies regarding masculinity. Thus, gender ideas became more flexible, transparent and open-ended. Especially urban young men and teenagers who grew up in such morally, culturally and socially changing environments experienced these uncertainties very intensively. In these terms, we can speak of a ‘crisis’ in masculinity which started in the early 1950s and peaked by the mid-1960s.155 During these years, we cannot easily determine a single hegemonic stereotype of manliness which could be used as a strong point of reference in the analysis of subordinated masculinities. It would be more accurate and realistic to speak about the various ways in which men experienced and constructed their gender identity in relation both to hegemonic stereotypes from the Greek tradition and to ‘imported’ popular masculine behaviours from abroad. It would be limiting to reduce masculinity once again into a small set of homogeneous values, ideas and behaviours instead of trying to deconstruct the various elements which constituted it during the transitory period of the 1950s and 1960s. As Kirtsoglou suggests, gender is best understood ‘as the creative orchestration of performative layers that sometimes crystallizes, and at other times, subverts the hegemonic notions of genderhood’.156 To sum up, the interaction between various cultural elements transformed masculinity into a problematic identity. Consequently, the best understanding of the social context in which it has been constructed and experienced, can provide a solid basis for the exploration of its representations in popular culture.

Notes    1 According to Allen (2004: 91) the works of Campbell (1964) and Friedl (1962) should be regarded as the first monographs in Greece by academically trained anthropologists. The first followed the British school of social anthropology, the second the American school of cultural anthropology. According to Cowan (1990), the persistence of some anthropologists in connecting a series of moral values, social institutions and roles relates to their training in the British tradition


   3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


which approached gender as a set of various parts socially ‘fitted together’. For researchers trained in the American tradition, the analysis of gender demanded a more cultural emphasis, and they have approached gender ‘in terms of the meanings that persons, spaces and actions can have in a society organized in a certain way’ (Cowan 1990: 9). Researchers from France, Germany, Holland and Norway have largely followed the British and American trends (Allen 2004: 95). For example, there are significant differences in the description of the values that inform masculine honour in the studies of Campbell (1964) and Boulay (1974). Notwithstanding this, their common orientation is obvious. Friedl (1962: 86). Herzfeld (1985: 11). Clark (1993: 242). Friedl (1962: 49). Faubion (1993: 218–20). Cowan (1990: 71). For further analysis of male behaviour in the kafeneion see also Loizos and Papataxiarchis (1991a: 17–18) and Herzfeld (1985: 152). Cowan (1991: 188). Pavlides and Hesser (1986: 63). Herzfeld (1985: 154–5). See also Herzfeld (1991: 51). Campbell (1964: 284). Papataxiarchis (1991: 170–2). For kefi as a notion of heterosexual masculinity see also Loizos and Papataxiarchis (1991b: 225–6). Boulay (1991: 55). Boulay (1974: 110). Dimen (1986: 63). Boulay (1986: 154). Salamone and Stanton (1986: 98). Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 335). Cowan (1990: 54). Herzfeld (1985: 135). Dubisch (1986b: 196). See also Campbell (1983: 188). Herzfeld (1991: 96). Boulay (1974: 104). According to Boulay, there is an apparent paradox in the position of women in Greek villages. They are considered both as ‘Eves, close to devil, weak’ and as spiritual guardians of their husbands, homes and families in line with the image of Holy Mary. This is the result of the social view of women in two aspects; as by nature fallen but by destiny redeemed. In this process of purification marriage is crucial for the pass from her nature to her destiny. See also Boulay (1986: 139).

56   25   26   27   28   29   30

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Herzfeld (1987: 65). Kenna (1976: 348–9). Boulay (1976: 393–4). Dubisch (1986b: 196). Campbell (1964: 152). For crimes committed in the name of honour in Greece from 1949 onwards see Avdela (2002). For the vendettas between families following insults to honour see Allen (1993: 136).   31 Peristiany (1965: 181).   32 Campbell (1983: 187).   33 Dubisch (1991: 45).   34 Campbell (1964: 280).  35 Ibid., p. 160.   36 Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 348).   37 Boulay (1974: 124–5).   38 Zinovieff (1991: 216).   39 Cowan (1990: 174). For the immorality of mangas see also Campbell (1964: 283).   40 Petropoulos as quoted in Cowan (1990: 174).   41 Cowan (1990: 173–5).   42 Kirtsoglou (2004: 12).   43 Cowan (1990: 180).   44 Vervenioti (2000: 107–9).   45 The term western values is often used in modern Greek to describe the new social values that Greek people adopted from countries of the West, mainly the USA.   46 Gizelis (2004: 29); Herzfield (1987: 11–12, 91).   47 Kirtsoglou (2004: 20). Peristiany and Pitt-Rivers have attempted to defend the work of anthropologists by stating that it is a mistake to consider that anthropologists tried to propose the conceptualisation of the Mediterranean as a ‘cultural area’. According to these authors (1992: 4), the treatment of the Mediterranean as a whole was only an epistemological-methodological tool and was never used in an attempt to promote cultural homogeneity. However, it is an interesting question to what extent their arguments have managed to change the reception of the existing anthropological paradigm, at least in terms of gender.   48 Herzfeld (1987: 11, 91).  49 Ibid.   50 Examples of such works are Sanders (1962); Friedl (1962); Campbell (1964); Boulay (1974).   51 Avdela (2002: 107).   52 Herzfeld (1987: 91–2).

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


 53 Ibid., refers as an example the work of Doumanis (1983).  54 Ibid, refers as an example the work of McNall (1974).   55 If nothing else, the controversy between Margaret Mead and Derek Freeman about Samoa, showed how anthropological findings can become widely accepted not essentially because of their validity but because they are oriented to serve the specific needs of an audience or to offer validity to academic traditions. On this issue see Freeman (1983); Caton (1990: 12).   56 Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 158).   57 Cowan (1990: 7–9).   58 Examples of such approaches can be found in Dubisch (1986a); Cowan (1990); Loizos and Papataxiarchis (1991); Papataxiarchis and Paradellis (1992, 1993).   59 See, for example, Banfield and Banfield (1958).   60 The next sub-chapter discusses in depth these issues of social and gender change.   61 Kirtsoglou (2004: 23).   62 Davis (1977: 7). The lack of focus on the cities is also acknowledged by Dubisch (1986a: xi). Nevertheless, some works by anthropologists make references to interaction between rural and urban environment (Friedl 1962: 44–7; 1976) and the impact of technological change (Lee 1953).   63 See for example Friedman and Randeria (2004).   64 Friedl (1962: 2); Herzfeld (1987: 92).   65 Davis (1977: 5).  66 Ibid.   67 Some examples of major works which initiated a new dialogue between anthropology and gender in the mid- 1980s and early 1990s are: Herzfeld (1985, 1987); Dubisch (1986a); Cowan (1990); Loizos and Papataxiarchis (1991); Faubion (1993); Papataxiarchis and Paradellis (1992; 1993).   68 Gallant (2001: 179).  69 Ibid.   70 The statistical information is quoted from Mouzelis (1978: 24). See also Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 53).   71 Mouzelis (1978: 27).   72 Karayiorgas and Pakos (1986: 272–3). For the post-war economy see also Sakellaropoulos (1998: 171–80).  73 Gallant (2001: 85).   74 Close (2002: 61). For a detailed comparison between the amenities commonly available in urban centres in contradiction to the hardships of the rural life in Greece during the 1950s and 1960 see Karapostolis (1983: 122–53).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

  75 The admiration of the villagers to the ‘superior’ urban lifestyle and their hopes for greater educational and professional opportunities in the Greek cities are analysed thoroughly in the work of Friedl (1962: 48–50).   76 In 1951, the percentage of the population living in cities or towns with populations over 10,000 did not exceed 37.7. By 1961 this number rose to 43.2 per cent to reach 53.2 per cent in 1971, a year during which the official census showed that only 35.1 per cent remained rural and 11.7 per cent semi-urban. In net numbers the internal migration during the period 1949–73 was massive: approximately 560,000 migrated in the 1950s, 680,000 in the 1960s and 720,000 in the 1970s. The numbers here are from McNeill (1978: 5, 211); Karapostolis (1983: 108, 118); Close (2002: 61). For the shift of the population to urban centres see Avdela (1990: 272–3). For the broader consequences of internal migration see Rombolis (2000).   77 McNeill (1978: 223). This collapse of confidence to the inherited way of life in Greek villages since the 1950s and the need of the rural population for dynamic change are also acknowledged by some social anthropologists. For example, see Boulay (1974: 234–5); Friedl (1962: 48–50).   78 The assumption of ‘cultural passiveness’ becomes problematic especially if one takes into consideration the fact that in 1960 at least 43.9 per cent of the total population of the Greek capital constituted newcomers of various origins within the rest of the country, while from the remaining 56.1 per cent another 11.8 per cent (of the whole) were foreign immigrants. See McNeill (1978: 222–6).   79 Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 367).   80 Karapostolis (1983: 255, 266–7).  81 Ibid., p. 104; Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 367).   82 Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 359).  83 Ibid., p. 361.   84 Karapostolis (1983: 299).  85 Ibid, pp. 217, 237.   86 Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 157).  87 Gallant (2001: 192). The phenomenon of external migration was so massive during the post-war years that in some cases the press characterized it as a ‘bleeding wound’ within Greek society which threatened to deplete the population of the country. An extended discussion on this issue can be found in Nikolopoulos (1963: 120–4).   88 Close (2002: 62). According to Close, the external migration movement should also take account of an undefined number of communists who left Greece due to post-civil war political persecution.   89 Laliotou (2004: 110).

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


 90 Ibid., p. 111.   91 A series of social anthropologists offer interesting case studies of the impact of internal migration on various Greek villages, which confirm these general observations. See Boulay (1974: 232–58); Friedl (1976); Avdikos (1991: 334–45).   92 Close (2002: 66).   93 There are also cases of arranged marriages via the traditional match-making [proxeneio]. This was considered as more secure than marriage on the basis of romantic love. See Hirschon (1988: 143–4); Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 156–7).   94 Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 368). For the continuities and changes in the dowry system in the 1960s see Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 157–81). From a legal point of view dowry was ‘the property which the wife or somebody else on her behalf gives to the husband in order to alleviate the burdens of marriage’ (Greek Civil Code article 1406 as quoted in Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 166).   95 For examples of such advertisements see Nea (05.12.1958; 24.10.1960).   96 Friedl, whose fieldwork took place in the village of Vasilika, offers a ranking of occupations which the villagers considered realistically possible for their migrating sons and their prospective sons-in-law in the cities. According to this ranking, white-collar professions requiring secondary or higher education are preferred and considered more prestigious than blue-collar professions which do not require advanced education (Friedl 1976: 364–5). Despite the view that an urban groom would be superior, some village communities did not appreciate a daughter-in-law from the city at all. They were very suspicious of them because the cities were often perceived as places of loose morals and women who grew up in such environments were considered as lacking ‘shame’ [dropi]. In cases where the couple decided to return to the village, a daughter-in-law coming from a city could face difficulties in being accepted by the family of the groom. (Avdikos 1991: 376–7).   97 Karapostolis (1983: 106–7); Pavlides and Hesser (1986: 83); Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 338).   98 McNeill (1978: 236–7); Valaoras et al. (1965: 270, 274). For the decline of fertility in Greece see also Simeonidou (1990: 30). It has to be noted that the decline in fertility rates was common to almost all European countries during the 1960s. (Simeonidou et al. 1992: 24).   99 See the statistical tables in Valaoras et al. (1965: 271–2). 100 Maratou-Alipranti (2004b: 122). It has to be noted that the abortions were illegal. For fertility, extramarital births and abortions see also Simeonidou (1990: 22, 32). 101 Simeonidou (1990: 32, 36–7). 102 Simeonidou et al. (1992: 45).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

103 For these continuities in gender roles see Hirschon (1988: 141–3). 104 These discriminations were very intense at least until the mid-1980s. See Karayiorgas et al. (1988: 175–85); Avdela (1990: 25). 105 Close (2002: 72). 106 Avdela (1990: 149–51). 107 Vervenioti (2000: 119). 108 Makedonia (02.12.1961). 109 Gallant (2001: 191). 110 Simeonidou (2004: 141). 111 Maratou-Alipranti (2004a: 111). For the changes and continuities of the sexual division of labour and the public/private spheres see also Cowan (1990: 48–54). 112 Pettifer (1993: 158). For the relationship of female labour and childbirth see also Simeonidou (1990: 23). 113 Within left-wing resistance organizations Greek women enjoyed an egalitarian status with their male comrades. There were almost no gender discriminations, a remarkably new reality for these women who had been living in a restrictive patriarchy, always subordinated to male dominance. This is the main idea in the interviews of women fighters as mentioned in Sarafis and Eve (1990: 102–3). 114 Vervenioti (2000: 107–12). 115 Ibid., p. 117. 116 Such organizations have been: Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (EAM) [National Liberation Front], Ellinikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (ELAS) [National People’s Liberation Army], and Eniaia Panelladiki Organosi Neon (EPON) [United Panhellenic Organization of Youth]. 117 Sarafis and Eve (1990: 109). The authors refer to the lyrics of a song called ‘To the EPONitisses’ (the girls of EPON) which mocks the former female fighters and implies their sexual immorality. 118 Close (2002: 61). The author highlights the example of a little country town called Megara where women as early as the 1950s started to go out and work in a nearby cotton factory in order to complete the funds needed for their dowries. These women were subject to very strong criticism for their decision. The example of Megara is also analysed in Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 143–56). 119 Close (2002: 68–9); Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 158–9). 120 Close (2002: 72). 121 For a more detailed analysis of the old and new family law see Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 199–200); Maratou-Alipranti (2004a: 109). 122 Maratou-Alipranti (2004c: 130–1). 123 Karapostolis (1983: 106). Increased female consumerism and the increasingly modernized lifestyle of many Greek women were reflected in the publication of

124 125 126

127 128


130 131

132 133 134

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


numerous women-oriented magazines in the 1960s. These new magazines largely promoted the connection of modern women with fashion, consumerism and in some cases with sexual and economic emancipation. Some examples of such magazines are (in parenthesis the first publication date): Fantasia kai Aisthima (1959); Pantheon (1961); Athinaia (1964); Vendeta (1965); Fantazio (1969). Simeonidou (1990: 50). Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 168). For the participation of women in higher education see also Kornetis (2006: 270). Tsoukalas (1986a: 188–9); McNeill (1978: 235); Friedl (1976: 365). It is also worth mentioning that the Greek educational system of the 1960s was characterized by some sociologists as the most class-open system among Western European societies. However, at the same time it was also characterized as one of the least open educational systems for women, especially in the agricultural and working classes, because the advanced education contradicted the traditional views of femininity (Lambiri-Dimaki 1983: 106). Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 84). See also Tsoukalas (1986b: 269); Friedl (1962: 49). Higher education and white-collar labour were also regarded as parts of a hegemonic model of masculinity which could transform single men into desirable grooms. This is confirmed by the ‘matchmaking advertisements’ in the press of this period. The majority of single women in these advertisements were seeking an urban, white-collar groom, while educated men often referred to their educational level to attract potential brides. For examples of such advertisements see Nea (05.12.1958; 24.10.1960). Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 89). According to Karapostolis (1983: 265), students from rural backgrounds were also less sociable than students from the cities. They went to cinemas, theatres, student parties, excursions and concerts less frequently and were more interested in buying academic books and periodicals. Karapostolis (1983: 115–17). More precisely in Greece, the illiteracy rate fell from 32 per cent in 1952 to 18 per cent in 1961–2 and 14 per cent in 1971 while the population of university students reached the 30,617 in 1961, rising to 70,161 only ten years later. Furthermore, the percentage of people among the labour force that had received only primary education fell impressively from 63.7 per cent in 1950 to 27.7 per cent in 1973 while the percentage of those who received secondary education increased from 4.7 per cent to 13.7 per cent. These numbers are quoted from Close (2002: 74). Tsoukalas (1986b: 97, 131). Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 69). Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 336).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

135 Karapostolis (1983: 108). 136 Lambiri-Dimaki (1983: 34–8); Karapostolis (1983: 244–5). 137 According to Avdela (2005: 31), similar violent behaviour in Europe can be found in the British ‘Teddy boys’, the Italian ‘teppisti’, the German ‘halbstarken’, the French ‘blouson noir’ and in the rest of the world among the American ‘rockers’, the Japanese ‘tokio giakou’, the Russian ‘stiliagi’ and the ‘tsotsis’ in South Africa. 138 For pallikari see pp. 15–16. 139 Especially striptease became one of the most popular forms of entertainment in nightclubs or private parties. It was often executed by professional dancers who in some cases were schoolgirls below the age of 18. Inevitably, this new reality and its distance from the code of female shame [dropi] caused discussions in the press of the time. The magazine Athinaia (10.11.1965) scrutinised this issue by presenting the lifestyle of teenager strippers concluding: ‘Athens is full of beautiful teenage strippers […] new people, new morals, we live in the age of striptease’. This general change in morals opened the floor to discussions about the necessity of sexual education of teenagers. See Pantheon (19.01.1966). 140 Kornetis (2006: 54). 141 For a more in-depth understanding of Teddy boys through the Greek press see the detailed analysis of Avdela (2005: 35). 142 Ethnos 5.9.1958 as quoted from Avdela (2005: 35). 143 A very popular film in 1962 carried the title Nomos 4000 [Law 4000] criticizing the phenomenon of ‘Teddy-boyism’. 144 Rich Athenian families were often accused by sociologists and journalists of encouraging ‘Teddy-boyism’ by being too soft with their children and accepting their new ‘needs’ such as fast cars, expensive clothing, night entertainment etc. Rich parents often applied this tactic in order to exhibit an anticonservative lifestyle to other upper class families, especially in the affluent and socially exclusive district of Kolonaki. An inevitable consequence was the loss of control over their spoilt children to a much greater extent than was the norm in the middle and low class families. On this issue see Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 369). 145 Hirschon (1988: 107–8). 146 Ibid., p. 109. 147 Campbell and Sherrard (1968: 368). 148 For changes in the dowry system see Chapter 1. 149 Campbell (1983: 199). 150 Hirschon (1988: 149). 151 Ibid.

Masculinity and Gender Relations in Greece: 1949–67


152 It has to be noted that according to Avdela (2002: 200) honour is not clearly defined by Greek law because it is a living experience and a complex concept, existing in the ‘soul of the Greek people’ and therefore cannot be limited in a single definition. 153 Ibid., p. 19. 154 For the transformations of Greek family in the 1960s see Kourvetaris and Dobratz (1987: 156); Avdela (2002: 233–4). 155 For an overview of how the term ‘crisis in masculinity’ has been elaborated by historians see Tosh (2005: 19–24). 156 Kirtsoglou (2004: 23).


Greek Cinema: 1949–67

As the main form of entertainment, cinema could not stay unaffected by the deep social, cultural, economic and political changes that took place in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s. It interacted in various ways with contemporary social and historical phenomena while it was developing into a strong industry by the early 1960s. The following pages are a critical summary of the most important issues related to Greek film productions and the filmic representations of gender during the period in question. The discussion here is structured on two main axes: Greek cinema as an industry, and Greek cinema as a social institution. The first focuses on the basic factors which shaped the development of the cinema, the second scrutinizes the multiple ways in which films depicted a series of social issues and social identities.

Towards a Greek Hollywood: Films, audiences, and companies in post-war Greece Undoubtedly, cinema was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s. Its wide popularity can be easily explained if one takes into account three basic parameters: the price of tickets, the language and the storylines of the films. First of all, low ticket prices made cinema affordable for all classes. Second, the Greek language was comprehensible to everybody, even the illiterate.1 Last but not least, simplistic scenarios with easily recognizable aspects of everyday life were attractive to the masses offering them the illusion of an escape from their everyday routines. In cinema theatres audiences had the chance to imagine themselves as someone else or to watch a dream becoming a reality, thus making clear the reasons as to why the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

majority of films had a happy ending. The protagonist – with whom the viewer empathized – was almost always rewarded in the end for being good-hearted, hard-working and honourable. Thus, the audience experienced a feeling of catharsis which was proved so elusive in real life.2 We should not forget that the audience of the 1950s consisted of people who had survived World War II, the German occupation and the civil war. These people were watching films in order to laugh, cry and forget, while outside the cinemas they had to face the harsh post-war reality.3 As Dinos Dimopoulos, one of the most important Greek directors in the 1950s and 1960s, stated in one of his interviews, ‘People were tired. They wanted to forget. This was exactly what the cinema of that period was offering: an escape and the encouragement that the next day will be better […]. In the cinema people could see and believe that there was still hope’.4 Statistics about the Greek film industry during the period in question illustrate that Greek cinema could lay claim to two records. First, from 1963 onwards the annual number of tickets sold in Greece was more than 100 million which in proportion with the population of the country was the greatest in Europe.5 Second, since the late 1950s more than 50 films per year were produced to peak in 1967 at 196 films. Again in proportion with the population of the country this means that since 1958 at least one film was produced for every 50,000 people. In countries with longer cinema traditions such as the USA, Italy, Russia or England, to make a comparison, one film was produced for every half, one or two million people, respectively. Despite the enormous difference in size and population between Greece and USA, by the late 1960s the number of Greek productions approached those of Hollywood.6 The following tables clearly demonstrate this sudden blast in Greek film productions and ticket sales. The phenomenal number of productions was often discussed not only in the Greek but also in the international press. According to the latter, the Greek film industry flourished for two basic reasons. First, the average cost per produced film was extremely low in relation to other European countries and the USA, a factor clearly reflected in the low price of tickets which made cinema an affordable entertainment for the substantial lower social and economic strata.7 Second, the cinema was actually the only medium of mass entertainment and inevitably monopolized the field until the delayed debut of television in 1966.8 During the 1960s, a relatively large number of films were shown abroad, especially in the countries which were the most popular destinations of the millions of Greek migrants. By 1965, 676 Greek films had been exported, yielding an income of approximately $465,000 to the production companies.9

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


Table 2.1  Annual cinema ticket sales in Greece 1956–761 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1

 56,918,637  62,211,453  66,808,530  74,824,238  84,164,611  86,622,883  96,058,015 100,460,120 109,469,245 121,137,252 131,783,131 137,074,815 137,400,996 135,275,538 128,599,812 117,953,979  92,625,921  62,247,055  57,146,118  47,927,821  39,923,302  38,958,882  34,200,247  38,879,451  42,985,137

  Sotiropoulou (1995: 37)

This must be considered as a great achievement, given the poor connections of producers abroad and the indifference of the state to the promotion of Greek films. However, the level of spending on the importation of foreign films to Greece, especially from the USA was much higher. In fact, American films consistently remained the largest in number and with the highest sales of tickets during the 1950s and 1960s.10 It is worth mentioning that the great popularity of the cinema was not merely an urban phenomenon. Cinemas in the outskirts and suburbs of Athens sold up to three times more tickets than in the city centre where the premieres were taking place. The price of the ticket played an important role since away from the centre it was much lower because the films were shown at a much later date. In spite of the lower incomes of the people in these areas, the reduced price meant that the cinema was affordable for almost everybody. Unfortunately, although we have access to general numbers of annual ticket sales, there are no


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Table 2.2  Annual number of Greek productions 1950–791 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1

  6  12  16  15  20  17  21  26  40  56  57  61  89  95 108 112 143 196 183 121 131  91  85  47  42  53  24  22  20  30

  Sotiropoulou (1995: 38)

Table 2.3  Income from the exportation of Greek films, 1955–70 (US$)1 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1

  Sotiropoulou (1989: 76)

 62,000 112,000 134,000  73,000 277,000 276,000 242,000 290,000

1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970

265,000 173,000 465,000 509,000 585,000 348,000 445,000 471,000

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


Table 2.4  Number of Greek exported films, 1965–7 (number refers to film copies not film titles)1 Country




UK Ethiopia Australia France W. Germany USA Israel Canada Cyprus South Africa TOTAL

 48  35  86  16 137  49  24  74 110  15 676

 38   5  56   1 116  25  21  52 101  28 450

 34   3  53  11  41  15   7  56 106  37 385


  Sotiropoulou (1989: 77)

Table 2.5  Annual expenses for the importation of foreign films in Greece, 1960–70 (US$)1 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1

1,513,906 1,875,898 2,223,520 2,322,154 2,092,066 2,304,706

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970

2,789,617 3,898,000 3,462,000 3,233,000 3,596,000

  Sotiropoulou (1995: 68)

published statistics that would clearly indicate the popularity of each film after its first release.11 Cinema theatres also increased in number in rural areas. In 1969 of a total of 1,055 winter cinemas, 610 were in the countryside. Some were very large, having in some cases up to 2,000 seats.12 Moreover, the moving cinemas which used to travel around Greek villages also have to be taken into consideration. Despite the fact that many researchers accept their popularity, we do not have any statistical data that could tell us more about their exact number; what films they were showing; and what kind of audience numbers they attracted.13 Nonetheless, the existing statistical data proves the remarkable popularity of the Greek films among the working-classes. As Athanasatou argues, cinemas in the periphery of urban centres, summer cinemas, the network of cinemas in the countryside, the moving cinemas and Greek cinemas in the popular destinations of external migrants, attracted the main body of the Greek audience.14 This allows us to put forward an interesting working hypothesis about what this audience-from-below liked to watch, how


Table 2.6  Films shown in Athens according to the country of production, 1960–691 1960–1










USA Greece France Italy W. Germany GB USSR Sweden Spain India Yugoslavia Japan Poland Denmark Turkey Austria Egypt Brazil Romania Argentina Mexico

266  62  55  31  35  48  27 –   5   8   5   2 – –   2 –   4 – – –   2

253  69  87  39  33  50  19   2   1  15   1   3   1   1 – – – – – –   3

297  96  63  51  27  55  13 – –   6 – – – – – – – – – – –

309  90  61  54  30  52  10   1   2   6   3   3 – – – – – – – –   1

253  84  62  49  22  20  16   2   1   2   1   8 – – – –   1 – – – –

224  88  58  51  19  34  19   4   1   1   1   1   2   2 – –   1   3   6   1   1

216  86  54  96  16  39  15   3   2   1   1   1 –   2 –   1 – – – – –

247  76  65  77  11  35   1   1   4   1 –   5   1   1 – – – – – – –

245  80  55  83   8  26   5   1   4   1   2 – –   1 – – – – – –   1

243  80  37  58   5 –   4   1   1   1   1   1 – –   1 – – – – – –


  Sotiropoulou (1995: 66)

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema


Greek Cinema: 1949–67


Table 2.7  Winter cinema theatres in Athens and Suburbs area, 1946-701 1946–7 1947–8 1948–9 1949–50 1950–1 1951–2 1952–3 1953–4 1954–5 1955–6 1956–7 1957–8 1

59 61 60 59 59 61 62 63 65 76 84 92

1958–9 1959–60 1960–1 1961–2 1962–3 1963–4 1964–5 1965–6 1966–7 1967–8 1968–9 1969–70

102 117 152 175 209 223 251 268 288 311 341 347

  Sotiropoulou (1995: 43)

its taste informed the film productions and in what ways it was influenced by them. In spite of the lack of research from the 1950s and 1960s on the potential impact of the cinema on Greek society, we can try to give some answers by studying thoroughly the existing film material, its reviews in the press and its thematic change through time, in cross-examination with the available historical, sociological and anthropological literature. Despite harsh criticism from the press, throughout the 1960s film companies continued to produce huge numbers of low-budget films motivated exclusively by the need to attract the masses and maximize profit. During the 1960s, 243 film companies were registered, an extraordinary number in relation to the size and the population of the country. Of these, only three to five were companies with any serious consideration of organization, planning, policy and a stable number of productions every year (examples here would be Finos Film, Karayiannis-Karatzopoulos, Anzervos, Damaskinos-Mihailidis, and James Paris). Of those remaining only a small number produced films for more than five years. The vast majority (139) appeared only for a single production.15 Commonly, these companies were family-run and-or owned by a producerinvestor who may or may not have had any relationship to the cinema and who likely saw film productions exclusively as a means for further profit.16 According to Sotiropoulou, this is the main reason why the majority of these films used the most repetitive and low-quality plots.17 This mass production-mass consumption oriented character of the Greek cinema was also the main cause of its decline. The broadcasting of the first Greek TV station in the late 1960s attracted the vast majority of average cinemagoers.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Having been exposed to hundreds of low-quality films for more than two decades, the audience remained artistically immature. Thus, it easily substituted its frequent visits to the local cinemas with television. After all, for these people the TV offered the same entertainment without a ticket. Consequently, the TV set was rapidly established as the new mainstream means of entertainment, and within three to five years attracted about one third of the cinema audience. Inevitably, this caused a crisis in the cinema industry from which it never recovered. But this crisis was not only a Greek phenomenon. The appearance of television had a similar impact on most European cinema industries which nonetheless survived and recovered. The reason this did not happen in Greece has largely to do with the negative role of the state. Most European governments, acknowledging the cultural and social role of their cinema industries, took adequate measures to prevent their financial catastrophe. On the contrary, the Greek state continued its same heavy taxation policy without investing any of this money to the further development of the cinema.18 Abandoned by the people and the state, Greek cinema reached the end of its ‘golden age’ – in terms of produced films – by the mid-1970s.

The role of the state As mentioned above, despite the phenomenal development of the cinema from the mid-1950s onwards, the role of the state was not as auxiliary to this process as might first be assumed. Instead of protecting and supporting the productions, it disregarded its cultural and social significance and left it to develop within the rules of capitalism, just like any other industrial product.19 Lacking the support of the state, the rules of supply and demand constituted the main, if not the only, parameters shaping the character of the film production. This contrasted with the general trend in Europe. After the end of World War II, most European countries adopted special legislations favourable to the development of cinema, supporting in this way their national productions. It could be argued that in Greece, this process went vice versa. The state took advantage of the development of the cinema and established a very high taxation policy, mainly on the price of tickets (25 per cent on the price of the cheap tickets costing 6 drachmas and 42 per cent on the price of first class tickets costing 16 drachmas).20 But still more damaging was the fact that instead of supporting the institution from

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


which taxes were drawn, this income was used to finance other forms of art (music, theatre etc).21 In addition to this negative role of the state, a further blow to cinema was the former’s failure during the 1950s and 1960s to constitute or even support institutions such as the National Film Archive, media-cinema schools, film festivals, film contests or libraries with film literature from which the national cinema would benefit. As Potamitis mentions: No state subsidies were available for the production, distribution, or promotion of commercial films and no financial incentives or safeguards were on hand to encourage alternative filmmaking practices such as the development of either an ideologically sanctioned official cinema or an experimental art cinema not bound by commercial constraints. Greece had no Cinecittà, no Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinématographiques, and no National Film Finance Corporation.22

It is striking that even the physical survival of many films was achieved only thanks to the work of individuals such as Aglaia Mitropoulou who played a key role in the foundation of the National Film Archive in 1950. Apart from the absence of financial support, the state acted negatively towards cinema in another way: censorship. For the filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s, censorship was not a new phenomenon. Since 1925 it had been constitutionally approved that it was the task of the state to give the final permission before any film was shown on cinema screens. Despite harsh criticism from the press, the legislation securing the state’s censorship did not change. On the contrary, Law 1108/1942 which was established in 1942, while Greece was still under the German occupation, to highlight the right of the state to censor any form of expression, remained active for all the years under investigation.23 This fact reinforces the hypothesis that the cinema productions, viewed by large audiences, were considered as highly influential. For this reason, from the mid-1920s until the mid-1970s the Greek Constitutions (1925, 1952, 1968, 1973 and 1975) insisted on legitimizing censorship which peaked during the Colonels’ regime (1967–74).24 Due to this intense censorship most Greek films during the period under investigation did not discuss any contemporary political issues and certainly refrained from referring to the existence of any communistic ideologies. For similar reasons, social issues and political approaches related to people of the left were almost entirely absent.25 As Philopoimin Finos, the founder and owner of Finos Films, stated in 1953:


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema We are not in France. There, the moment the Germans left right and left wingers were embracing each other and drinking their Beaujolais in the bistrots. This is another, a cursed country. Who would dare to show such a film? They’ll break his show cases, they’ll set his cinema afire, they’ll throw a bomb to destroy him […]26

Moreover, issues related to the civil war, or the corruption of politicians, were only rarely and implicitly mentioned, while the national military forces maintained a positive, honourable image. According to Fabre, in order to avoid the censors’ intervention a film should not include: (a) references to any revolutionary theories, (b) insults against the customs and morals of Greek society, (c) insults or jokes about the Acropolis and (d) scenes which could damage in any way the economy and tourism of the country.27 In rare cases, filmmakers dared to ignore the strict restrictions of the censorship committee and were refused the license for public screening of their films (i.e. Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream], 1961),28 or were obliged to cut certain scenes before their final release (i.e. Agapi pou den Svinei o Chronos [Eternal love], 1966).29 The censorship of cinema was often discussed in the foreign press which was at greater liberty to apply criticism on the censors than newspapers and journals in Greece. According to Reed, state censorship operated under the Minister of the Interior, who was responsible for the appointment and functionality of three constitutive committees that had extensive power to cut and ban anything considered improper for large audiences. These committees included representatives from the police, the ministry itself and the church. The latter is reported as having been the body with the strongest influence on the final decisions of the committee since it claimed the responsibility for the protection of religion and the family from the ‘corrupting powers’ of cinema.30 The minimum age for general entrance in the cinemas for the period 1949–67 was set to 14 and increased to 17 with the application of the new law for the operation of cinemas in September 1967.31 According to this law, the owner of a cinema and the ticket inspector could pay a penalty up to the substantial figure of 20,000 drachmas each, if a person under the age of 17 was found watching X-rated films (which included, among others, gangster films, police stories, films about Teddy boys and films with erotic scenes). Also, the guardian of this person could face the penalty of imprisonment for up to six months!32 In these terms, the development of cinema both as an industry and as a social institution should be examined parallel to the changes in the frames

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


of censorship and the legal system to which it was obliged to adjust. For example, the depiction of ‘negative’ themes and social issues including poverty, unemployment and immorality was undertaken mostly via alternative narration strategies such as exploiting subplots, satire and inversion of stereotypes. In cases when filmmakers tried to present a more ‘realistic’ and direct picture of Greek society, they faced bans, penalties and restrictions.33 Dinos Dimopoulos, one of the most successful film directors of the 1950s and 1960s, stated in one of his interviews: … during those years [1950s-1960s] there was censorship. Anything that aimed to present a closer and critical view of the social changes was banned. They wouldn’t let it reach the cinema screens […]. Whenever a film [of this kind] was managing to overpass censorship was either because the censors were unable to realize some implications or because we managed to pass our messages in a “coded language”. Most of the times we were able to do so in comedies […].34

Conclusively, despite the strict censorship of cinema, the contemporary social or political status in Greece is not absent from the popular films of the 1950s and 1960s. Yet, as Stassinopoulou argues, to acquire an understanding of these issues it is necessary to focus on the deconstruction of the codes of irony and parody in comedies and of the narratives of conflict in melodramas which were elaborated by the filmmakers in order to avoid the censors’ intervention.35

Reflections of social change In the years between the end of the civil war (1949) and the Colonels’ coup (1967) Greek cinema productions consisted mostly of (farce)comedies and (melo)dramas: stories that despite being fictional were dramatized in an environment familiar to the audience.36 This filmic world was largely informed by the tremendous social changes that the country was going through. Thus, films produced in the aftermath of the Wars show a quite different picture of Greece than those of the late 1950s and 1960s. These changes in the cinematic representation of the country can be better understood if studied in parallel with their contemporary social, cultural and historical context. For example, in films as well as in extra-cinematic sources we can see the abandonment of the countryside for a life in the growing urban centres, Athens and Thessaloniki: traditional houses being demolished and replaced by blocks of flats; people


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

working all day long for very low wages; the emergence of new customs; and new ways of entertainment which imitated the American lifestyle.37 These changes are much more evident in films set in urban environments than in the countryside. In films depicting cities, especially from the late 1950s onwards, women are shown fairly frequently smoking, driving cars, using street language and being sexually active before marriage. On the contrary, the countryside is often represented, especially in nostalgic comedies, as a place that maintains its purity and charm by resisting the advent of modernity. Changes in material culture are also vividly represented in films. For example, products such as cars, washing machines, fridges, trendy clothing, foreign alcoholic drinks (especially whisky) are shown to be a part of the everyday life of the elites in the early 1950s. They were a symbol of wealth until they became affordable by the middle classes in the late 1960s.38 Yet, in the majority of cases, such wealth and consumption is represented negatively. The moral of most comedies and dramas is that money can be very dangerous; it can lead to immorality, the loosening of family ties and certainly is not the only means to happiness. Apart from being a diachronic meaning, this is definitely what the majority of the audience was comfortable with watching; an audience which was struggling to cope with the new consumer culture.39 The new trends in morals, social behaviours, material and consumer culture were not depicted only in films. If we take a comparative look in printed media, such as popular magazines, film magazines, film journals and newspapers, the invasion of foreign products onto the Greek market is clearly visible. Imported alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, fashion, music, technology are more and more frequently advertised in printed media as we move from the 1950s to the 1960s. In these advertisements gender connotations are quite frequent since most products were aimed at either male or female consumers. Moreover, the popularity of many Greek actors and actresses was elaborated in order to increase the sales of a product. Thus, various products were often advertised by members of the local star system. But what becomes even more radical in the 1960s is the way in which the body was depicted in various media in order to attract consumers. It can be argued that the 1960s in Greece was the first decade in which the female body was highly eroticized and objectified. The majority of films produced for ‘mass consumption’ include at least a few minutes footage of a beautiful female body shown in a highly sexualized way. The ways to expose the nude body – or parts of it – varied according to the genre and the plot of the film. Moreover,

Greek Cinema: 1949–67

Vacuum cleaner advertisement in Romantso (16.03.1965)

Washing machine advertisement in Romantso (20.04.1965)

Car radio advertisement in Eikones (21.02.1964)

Whisky advertisement in Eikones (17.01.1964)



Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Aliki Vouyiouklaki advertises soap in Sinema (October 1966)

Rika Dialina advertises shampoo in Domino (date n.a)

in order to achieve a larger audience, the companies started not only to show nude bodies in their films but also to advertise their productions in the same way. Cinema journals, popular magazines and cinema magazines in the 1960s include numerous advertisements for Greek films with nude or semi-dressed female bodies as the main object of the reader’s gaze. Just like film companies, popular magazine directors employed similar means to increase sales. By the mid-1960s, the nude female body displayed on the cover page had become one of the most successful ways to attract the average magazine reader. If we take a comparative look of the front pages of magazines during the period under investigation what is notable is an absence of sexual images in the 1950s which is gradually substituted by the highly erotized cover images of the next decade. As the following images clearly demonstrate, by the

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


O Telefteos Peirasmos [The Last Temptation], 1964 in Theamata (30.08.1964)

Fouskothalassies [Wavy Sea], 1966 in Theamata (30.09.1966)

Dama Spathi [Queen of Clubs], 1966 in Kinimatografikos Astir (3.12.1966)

Ta Mistika tis Amartolis Athinas [Secrets of the Sinful City of Athens], 1966 in Kinimatografikos Astir (15.9.1966)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Lolites tis Athinas [Athenian Lolitas], 1965 in Theamata (15.11.1965)

To Remali tis Fokionos Negri [The TrÎąmp of Fokionos Negri], 1965 in Theamata (30.10.1965)

mid-1960s not only the cover pages but also the content of magazines – articles, discussions, stories, letters from readers, cineromanzi (photo-romance stories), and even cartoons – revolve explicitly around sexual issues. Consequently, the modernization process in moral and material terms which took place in Greece during the late 1950s and 1960s was reflected in, and at the same time promoted by, various forms of popular culture. While this modernization process had a Western origin, this does not imply that Greece was a passive backward society simply receiving and adopting all foreign influences. In many cases, elements from the patriarchal and Greek Orthodox tradition were strong enough to resist and condemn the new trends. For example, the trend to use the nude body to attract the male gaze raised a series of long debates among political, judicial, psychological and clerical circles which included issues regarding the morality of the films, the ethical corruption of the audience in the cinemas and the morality of women who exploited their bodies in order to follow fashion.40 The Western influence is also evident in Greek productions which tended to imitate the storylines and the general features of American productions. By putting American storylines and genres (e.g. musicals) into a Greek context

Greek Cinema: 1949–67

Romantso (19.04.1954)

Eikones (27.10.1958)

Eikones (30.12.1958)

Xenia Kaloyeropoulou in Fantasia kai Aisthima (21.10.1959)



Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Eikones (23.05.1964)

Romantso (28.6.1966)

Zoi Laskari in Sinema (April 1966)

Zoi Laskari in Thisavros (9.1.1964)

Greek Cinema: 1949–67

Thisavros (25.11.1965)

Thisavros (2.12.1965)

Thisavros (16.12.1965)

Thisavros (30.04.1964)



Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

they hoped to attract high audience numbers and acquire maximum profit.41 But the influence of American films was not restricted only to the Greek filmic world. The thousands of Hollywood films that were shown in the Greek cinemas had a deep impact on Greek society and especially on young people who were questioning the existing social reality in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. Hollywood was the mainstream cinema of the Western world and in the turbulent decade of the 1960s its storylines as well as its star system had a deep social impact around the globe. Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley embodied characters that rebelled against the existing social order in many perspectives. Gender relations, masculinity, femininity, sexuality, patriarchy were categories that through Hollywood cinema were redefined not only in the USA but also in transatlantic countries. For example, James Dean’s films became extremely popular in Greece during the 1950s and young people were very keen to imitate the rebellious behaviour of their idol, right down to details such as his haircut. Similarly, Elvis Presley’s films in the early 1960s promoted rock n’ roll all over the country. In a sense, a whole new, challenging youth culture was exported from the USA to meet enthusiastic fans in Greece and especially in the capital city of Athens.42 In Greek films, music was often used to contrast modernity with tradition. Rock n’ roll, the twist, the shake and other dances of Western origin expressed the advent of modernity while bouzoukia and rembetiko music indicated the persistence of the long Greek tradition. The first were connected with the lifestyle of the higher social classes, the latter with the middle and workingclasses. Given that the cinema productions of this period were aiming to attract the masses, all films included at least one scene showing people entertaining or being entertatined with bouzoukia music.43 Furthermore, Greek music became the trademark of the country abroad through films that participated in international festivals and won awards such as Zorba the Greek, 1964 and Stella, 1955 by Michalis Cacoyannis. From a broader point of view, popular Greek comedies and dramas depicted, carried, promoted and in some cases forecasted social change. This challenges the paradigm established by various film critics and scholars of the Greek cinema which stipulates that most of the productions of this period, even some of the most popular in Greece and abroad, are useless for further historical, social and cultural analysis.44 Despite their low artistic quality and the repeated scenarios, these productions managed to attract and entertain millions of people for two decades. Even if they present a ‘fake reality’, with unrealistically

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


happy endings or over-tragic stories, they can provide us with insights into the social context with which they interacted. Thus, even if they acquired the form of a ‘constantly repeated illusion’45 these films can be very informative if analysed from a broader socio-cultural and historical perspective.

Greek popular films: Actors, genres, themes and characters As already mentioned, the vast majority of the productions between 1949 and 1967 were either comedies or dramas. These two genres prevailed, sold more tickets than any other form of entertainment and attracted people of every age and class.46 However, the limited requirements of the audience from a film resulted in the production of a very large number of low-budget films, most of them repeating the same story only slightly altered every time. In general, as far as comedies are concerned, Ananidis argues that during the period discussed here their storylines covered four main thematic units: family bonds and integrity, socially forbidden love (usually between young people from different social classes), poverty and unemployment, and the profound social and cultural transformations in Greece.47 In the comedies of the 1960s the protagonists are not only the well-known poor figures of the 1950s who get involved in funny adventures while trying to fill their empty stomachs. They are also middle class men who cause laughter while, for example, try to get a better job or a raise, or to keep their family in patriarchal order.48 Nevertheless, the basic purpose in the life of women portrayed in these productions remained unchanged. Young women were still expected to get married and create a family. The comedies of the 1950s until the mid-1960s mainly discuss how young people socialize or fall in love and how they overcome various problems in order to get married. Yet from the late 1960s, marriage ceases to be the ending point of the plot. The life of married couples is scrutinized and the struggle of the wife to transfer the burden of domestic work onto her husband’s shoulders becomes the main storyline of many popular comedies. From domestic angels in the 1950s, women in the late 1960s appear on screen as lazy, overreacting and stubbornly resisting their husbands’ attempts to re-establish patriarchal order, sometimes successfully, other times in vain.49 It should be noted that the films of the period in question, especially the comedies, narrate stories which take place mostly in urban environments,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

commonly in the capital city of Athens.50 This is something of an oxymoron considering the fact that despite the intense internal migration, the Greek population remained to a significant percentage rural until the mid-1970s.51 It could be hypothesized that urban settings were preferred because they were more attractive to the majority of audiences. But while the countryside as such was left rather underrepresented, its relations with the cities were frequently mentioned.52 For example, there are frequent references to people who had just migrated from the countryside to Athens and their attempts to adopt the new modernized lifestyle of the capital. The urban environment was also the preferred setting for romantic comedies, one of the most popular genres in the 1960s. In most of these films the plot is more or less stereotypical: a handsome lad falls in love with a beautiful girl but must overcome several obstacles which stand in their way of happiness. Perhaps the most frequent problem depicted is a social gap between the two lovers that lends these films a Cinderella-story character, even if the male-prince, female-Cinderella roles often shift places.53 Eventually, one way or another all the problems are solved and the young couple can enjoy their love in the blessing of Holy Matrimony. Apart from the urban settings being extremely favourable to the audience, the absence of the countryside from most popular productions of this period was also the result of some practical difficulties. Until the mid-1960s only a very limited road network connected remote villages with urban centres. Moreover, the permission for shooting films in villages was not always easy to acquire.54 However, in the cases when these obstacles were overcome, rural societies were presented as consisting of old-fashioned patriarchal families. This reflects one of the main schemes in the Old Greek Cinema: stories set in rural societies represented the past, or how things used to be; stories set in urban societies represented the modern present and gave an idea of the possible future.55 As Kartalou argues, the axis of rural-urban in the Greek cinema of the 1950s and 1960s in relation to the time and the storylines of the film, follows three main narration codes. In the first, the past is related to the rural tradition, commonly in melodramas. In the second, the present is related to the urban lifestyle in comedies, when there is no strong connection of the main story with Greek history or social problems. Last but not least, the present is related to the urban lifestyle in a dramatic way when the protagonist is connected with Greek history or contemporary social problems.56 A general conclusion that can be put forward is that the antithetical representation of ‘rural vs urban life’ differed greatly depending on the genre and the

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


main storyline. In most comedies the countryside was presented with nostalgia, whereas in dramas it appeared as a place where brutal behaviour such as rape, murder and gender discrimination occurred. Moreover, in dramas the image of the countryside contrasted with that of Athens, which was often shown as a place of order and happiness. Nevertheless, in storylines which scrutinized the corruption of the modernized, demoralized and sinful urban lifestyle, the countryside tended to symbolize a ‘lost paradise’: innocence, peace and happiness, how things used to be.57 Conclusively, either in a positive or a negative way, the repeated representation of the city in Old Greek Cinema reflects a major social trend: the intense urbanization and the endeavour for a better standard of living. For lower and agricultural classes this would mean a constant effort to reach an urban middle class standard while the middle classes were involved in an anxious hunt for an upper class urban profile. Both cases, as Kapsomenos argues, seem like different levels to the purchase of the same ideal which was, beyond any doubt, to become a part of the upper class urban elite. The antithesis between ruralurban, poor-rich, modern-traditional, was often elaborated to represent and, to an extent, to promote these social trends especially in the films of the 1960s.58

Masculinities, femininities and the rise of a local star system Even though most of the comedies and dramas faced very negative criticism in the press of the period, mainly because of their low artistic quality and repetition of the same stories, they remained the most popular genres and from the late 1950s they began to generate a specifically cinematic Greek star system. From various perspectives this system is resonant of Hollywood of the same period. Greek actors started modelling their looks on those of foreign stars and audiences attached certain characteristics to their images from the roles they repeatedly embodied. Indeed, almost all the popular actors and actresses created a filmic persona which established a specific image of theirs in the memory of the audience.59 According to Soldatos, it was the actors’ images and not the title or the story of the film that attracted the average cinemagoer. He or she was attracted by the names of the cast. For example, actors such as Thanasis Vengos, Lambros Kostandaras and Mimis Fotopoulos guaranteed a couple of relaxing hours in laughter. Nobody but the film critics cared how good the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

director or the aesthetic quality of the film was.60 Thus, very often and especially in comedies, the scenario and the direction of a film was modified according to the available cast and not vice versa.61 In addition, a range of popular actors such as Nikos Kourkoulos, Alekos Alexandrakis, Dimitris Papamihail, Andreas Barkoulis, Yiorgos Foundas and Kostas Kakkavas embodied roles which allowed them to become popular idols. Perceived as young, handsome and fearless but at the same time sensitive, emotional and good-hearted they managed to promote new hegemonic types of masculinity. As their popularity increased their appearances in cover pages of popular magazines became more frequent, especially from the late 1950s on. In the same way, specific actresses were also connected with the roles that they embodied regularly in films. Thus, actresses such as Martha Vourtsi, Eleni Hadjiaryiri, Eleni Zafeiriou, and Angela Zilia passed into the conscious and subconscious of the audience as abandoned mothers, good-hearted prostitutes, wives of cruel husbands, widows or poor women fighting to keep their morality. Generally speaking, in the dramas of this period, women are presented as the a priori weak gender trying to survive in a male-dominated world. With their

Andreas Barkoulis in the cover page of Fantasia kai Aisthima (7.10.1959)

Andreas Barkoulis in Fantasia kai Aisthima (7.10.1959)

Greek Cinema: 1949–67

Kostas Kakkavas in the cover page of Fantasia kai Aisthima (14.10.1959)


Kostas Kakkavas in Fantasia kai Aisthima (14.10.1959)

subordination taken for granted, they were expected to keep their morality at all times and if they failed to do so the punishment issued by a male character – father, brother, husband, police authorities – would be severe.62 It should, however, be noted that there was also another group of actresses who were not really connected with a single stereotyped role. Actresses such as Aliki Vouyiouklaki, Tzeni Karezi, and Zoi Laskari were, thanks to their beauty and acting talent, extremely popular in a variety of roles in melodramas as well as in comedies. Undoubtedly, Nikos Xanthopoulos was the most popular melodramatic actor. Only he managed to touch the audience’s hearts to such an extent that he is still remembered as the ‘son of the people’, the nickname given to him by the media of the 1960s.63 In most of his films, Xanthopoulos embodied a character which established itself in the minds of the working-classes as the norm of the perfect male. Even if the roles, the names and the environments in his films changed, he almost always embodied the same image of man: a good-hearted, hard-working, poor but honest lad who managed to gain happiness only at the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

end of the film due to his excellent character. Through his roles he became a living hero for the masses, a symbol that proved – at least in the filmic world – that even the non-elites could find their way to success and true happiness. His problems were their problems and they were expressed in the most emotionally open way: in his acts and songs. His masculinity was not challenged, but celebrated by his emotional openness.64 In general, as Arambandzis states, by becoming a symbol of an enduring traditional masculinity within modern Athenian society, he helped the working-classes identify themselves as people who were honest, sensitive, serious, masculine, fair, decent, moral, real Greeks in contrast to elites who were generally presented as insensitive, dishonest, unserious, effeminate, hypocrites, immoral and carriers of foreign ideologies.65 Apart from examining dominant types of masculinity, it is also worth mentioning other categories of men who appear less often and in secondary roles. Heterosexuality in the films of the 1950s and 1960s is considered as a necessity for an honourable man. However, gay or effeminate men are also present. But while printed media often criticized homosexuality strongly by referring to it as a ‘disease’, ‘psychic distortion’, ‘anomaly’ and ‘bleeding wound’ for Greek society, cinema followed an alternative approach to this issue.66 None of the films in this period aims to narrate realistically the modus vivendi of these marginalized men. Male characters with effeminate behaviour appear in comedies to make the audience laugh by being neither men nor women. In this sense, homosexuality – which is only evident in male characters – is depicted in a simplistically generalized way. Homosexuals were ‘caricatures’ of men, presenting elements from the ‘natural’ heterosexual masculinity to which certain effeminate characteristics were attached. Consequently, we can speak of a certain stereotype which was elaborated by filmmakers to depict sarcastically rather than realistically this alternative gender identity. Inevitably, this depiction lacked diversity, controversy and innovation. Moreover, even though they appear in comedies, these characters are not given a central role. They are restricted to auxiliary roles and appear randomly in scenes, connected with specific ‘feminine’ professions such as hairdressers, teachers of good manners, nurses and beauticians, or they embody artists and film directors. They never appear in blue-collar professions or in rural environments. Their attire and appearance almost uniformly had elements of the feminine dress code, usually a scarf or a bag, an obvious connotation to their queer sexuality. Actors such as Sotiris Moustakas, Takis Miliadis, Yiannis Gionakis and Stavros Paravas embodied such characters from whom the audience expected to see

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


an imitation of female voice or a female body movement, as well as naivety, self-sarcasm, oversensitivity, over-politeness, indications of their true sexual desires towards handsome men, and a tendency to undertake female tasks such as cleaning the house, knitting or cooking. These gay characters elicited the laughter of both the straight characters in the filmic world and of the audience in the cinema theatres. It is also worth mentioning that they were sexually sole features, never shown in the presence of other gay men or with a male partner.67

Youth in films: The representation of a crisis When studying the popular genres of the ‘Old Greek Cinema’ it becomes obvious that from the mid-1950s onwards, young people and their problems were a major theme. From their teenage years until their mid-twenties young men and women are presented as the main carriers of social change. Especially in comedies and dramas of the 1960s, young people often seem to face an identity crisis which inevitably leads them into conflict with their parents. They are the section of society most influenced by the coming of modernity. In this respect, new values, morals and ideas affect young people of both genders in Greek popular films, who demand that the rest of society allow them their sexual freedom, sexual equality, limitless consumerism and endless entertainment. According to Delveroudi, while in the 1950s middle class filmic characters appeared to work in order to cover their most basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, in the 1960s they began to acquire the habits of the elites. They appear dressed in fashionable clothes, living in comfortable houses and having fun in nightclubs.68 Of course, all these new lifestyle choices were debated in films which represented the ‘reality’ in urban environments, where foreign prototypes portrayed by the media influenced young people much more easily. It is worth mentioning that in most of the films studied here, it is clearly stated or implied that almost all new behaviours come from abroad and mainly from the US pop culture. A general observation is that the youth element began to be represented quite differently as we move from the 1950s to the 1960s. In the 1950s productions, young people start to question their given traditional reality, while in those of the 1960s they acquire a revolutionary modern identity. In the 1950s young people show much more respect and obedience to their parents, while in the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

1960s the generation gap is discussed as one of the most severe social problems. Also, since the late 1950s, female characters appear on screen as more dynamic and emancipated. They escape the restricting code of ‘shame’, and the close control of their fathers and brothers. A new code of morality emerged which has little to do with the traditional stereotypes of femininity. As we pass from the 1950s to the 1960s the new image of young people becomes accepted – even after intense negotiation – by the older generations. It is worth mentioning that revolutionary behaviour is attributed much more frequently to youth from the urban upper class than to the rural or urban lower classes. By means of their common characteristics in plots, scenes and characters, the dramas which discussed the dangers created by the new rebellious youth cultures constituted an extremely popular sub-genre which many film critics and later researchers called: tainies koinonikis katangelias [films of ‘social criticism’].69 These films alerted audiences to the fact that the loosening of patriarchal structure and the advanced consumerism constituted a major threat to Greek families. The appearance of Teddy boys and Teddy girls is at the centre of several films which discuss the rising of a new rebellious, violent and ‘immoral’ youth culture. Without solid family bonds, youth is left unrestrained to express sexuality, a sinful and immoral act according to the code of honour and shame, especially for unmarried girls. The loss of their virginity becomes synonymous with the beginning of a moral fall which will eventually lead them to catastrophe. Usually, such cases are contrasted by alternative examples of decent, moral and obedient youth, most commonly coming from middle- or working-class families, who concentrate on their studies, financially support their families and show respect to their parents.70 The aim of these films was to present in a shocking way the social crisis and change of the 1960s and their dangers to the most vulnerable social group: young people. Tradition, modernity, morality, immorality, patriarchy, the generation gap, consumerism, sexuality are the main axes of negotiation through which the ambiguities of urban life were represented.71 As mentioned in Chapter 1, the appearance of Teddy boys and Teddy girls alarmed older generations. Parents, state, and church tried to spot the origins of what they regarded as a ‘curse’ on their children. Cinema – especially Hollywood productions – was blamed as the main source of this arising subculture. According to Avdela, gangster and police-story films were considered extremely dangerous because they presented outlaws as heroes, thus encouraging young people to adopt similar behaviours. Some conservative committees concluded

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


that over 65 per cent of young people’s criminal actions were inspired by what they had previously watched on the silver screen. Even the conditions of spectatorship in cinema theatres (darkness of the room, brightness of the screen, loud sound) were considered as suspicious for having a negative impact on the psychology and mental health of young people.72 From the mid-1950s until the late 1960s the discussion in the press about the negative influence of the cinema on the audience was quite intense. Newspapers, magazines, even film journals were preoccupied with the issue of cinema as a socially influential medium and published articles written by cinema experts, school teachers, even psychologists in Greece and abroad who were trying to give a scientific perspective on this issue. Special attention was always given to the ‘catastrophic’ influence of ‘improper’ films on children and teenagers, giving the impression of a general suspicion, if not social alert, regarding this relatively new medium.73 It is also worth mentioning that in 1958, a committee constituted by the state for the supervision of development of the theatre and cinema, suggested the banning of the entrance to cinemas for people below the age of 17. According to this suggestion – which came to fruition nine years later under the Colonels’ regime – exceptions would be films especially produced for ‘educational reasons’. In addition to this, the church consistently urged young people to stay away from the cinema theatres which were often described as ‘schools of catastrophe’, ‘schools of criminality and corruption’ and as ‘negatively influential on the masses’.74 Even in a negative way, this general anxiety about the cinema provides insights into public beliefs about its highly influential role and contributes to the construction of valid historical hypotheses based on its interaction with its social context.

Rethinking masculinity, gender and the development of Greek cinema Being developed within a constantly changing society, Greek cinema of the 1950s and 1960s acquired some indigenous characteristics which influenced to a significant extent the way masculinity and gender relations were represented. First of all, the Greek film industry developed at an extremely rapid pace. Within less than a decade after the end of the devastating civil war, the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

production of films reached Hollywood levels, the ticket numbers doubled, film companies were founded one after another, and a local star system arose. Surprisingly though, within this context of extreme evolution, the state played a rather negative role. It neither protected local productions from foreign competition nor facilitated the development of Greek film companies. On the contrary, through heavy taxation and strict censorship, it became an obstacle to both filmmakers dedicated to ‘mass production’ of films and to those who wanted to express an alternative view of the Greek society. The desire of the Greek audience for affordable entertainment, in a period when television was still not available, played a decisive role to the overcoming of obstacles and led to the creation of an indigenous film culture. One of the most significant characteristics of this culture was the production of hundreds of low-budget, low-quality films which were selling millions of tickets. Their constantly repeated stories attracted large audiences who were seeking a means to escape from the daily routine. Moreover, these stories contributed to the development of a film industry based on filmic personas. The Greek audience connected popular Greek actors and actresses with specific roles, behaviours, and stories and established a well-defined image of them on and off screen. Within this context, masculinity and gender relations were represented in a state of transition. The strong patriarchal tradition, which was in line with the conservative views of the censors, was represented as the dominant paradigm of family organization. However, as we move from the 1950s to the 1960s, patriarchy along with hegemonic types of traditional masculinity and femininity appear less static. Influenced by Western ideas and ethos, traditional perceptions of gender become flexible entities which embody many elements of what we could call ‘Greek modernity’. In addition, cinematic representations of social change did not remain restricted on the silver screen. Greek actors and actresses frequently appeared in popular magazines, the theatre, the newspapers and the radio. In general, we could speak of a Greek popular culture overwhelmed by cinematic images which had a deep impact on how the Greek audience perceived gender identities. Stemming from the above, the focus on the complicated mechanisms which shaped the dynamic relationship of exchange between Greek popular culture and society can provide new insights into the historical study of gender transformations. It is, therefore, disappointing that popular Greek films are scarcely used to the exploration of social, cultural and historical phenomena. As Kartalou puts it:

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


those filmic texts which belong to the popular film production and are assumed to be uniformly mass-produced are not usually the topic of serious study in Greek theoretical discourse. Serious study pays attention to art films […]. If one turns away from this high art-low art bias, however it becomes a legitimate theoretical endeavor to consider films destined for ‘mass consumption’ and to examine them as vehicles of cultural meanings.75

If studied thoroughly, films of the ‘Old Greek Cinema’ can indeed help the investigation of current historical questions and the establishment of new paradigms. As the following chapters demonstrate, in many cases, their value as historical sources in the investigation of behaviours, mentalities and social identities can be even greater than that of written documents.76

Notes   1 The extreme popularity of low-budget films which repeatedly recycled successful storylines was often the object of harsh criticism of film experts who were unable to find any aesthetic value in such productions blaming the audience’s ignorant taste. As Bakoyiannopoulos stated in Theamata (28.12.1965): ‘The main problem of Greek cinema is the audience’s low educational and cultural level’.   2 Sotiropoulou (1995: 44); Karakitsou-Douge (2002: 51). According to Sotiropoulou (1989: 59) apart from low ticket costs another major reason for the great popularity of the cinema was the phenomenon of massive urbanization.   3 Mitropoulou (2006: 132).   4 Triandafillidis (1997: 182). Dimopoulos’ statement is confirmed as a social norm by the results of two surveys on Greek audiences. The first was carried out by the film journal Theamata in 1962 and the second from the Research Centre of Greek Cinema and Television in 1967. Both of them showed that 60–70 per cent of the audience went to cinemas to ‘forget the difficulties of everyday life’. For the first see Theamata (31.03.1962). For the second see Theamata (31.12.1967). On the same issue see Karalis (2012: 45).   5 Sotiropoulou (1995: 53). Given that most of the owners of the cinema theatres were ‘hiding’ some of the ticket sales to avoid heavy taxation, the real annual numbers were probably much greater than those in the official records.   6 Soldatos (2002: 73); Elliniko Theatro (November 1958). Stassinopoulou (2000a: 3) mentions that ‘from the last years of the Axis occupation to the end of the dictatorship in 1974 over 1500 films were produced for a population of 7 to 8.5


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

million’. For the development of the post-World War II Greek Cinema see also Kokonis (2012:40–2).   7 The total cost per film in Greece was around $30,000 according to Hollywood Reporter (18.1.1965) or $15,000–$20,000 according to Intermezzo (15.5.1958).  8 Motion Picture Herald (13.12.1961); Film Daily (17.11.1959); Cinema Nuovo (July– August 1964). For the massive production of low quality films and the general picture the Greek film industry presented abroad see also Bianco e Nero (May 1967).   9 For the export and reception of Greek films in Germany, one of the most popular destinations of Greek workers see Theamata (15.05.1966). 10 Sotiropoulou (1995: 66–7). 11 More precisely, for the period 1964–5 the number of tickets sold in the outskirts and suburbs of Athens was 30.353.907 while in the city centre 11.140.275, for the period 1965–6, 34,042,943 to 10,554,324; for the period 1966–7, 36,354,715 to 11,456,085, and for the period 1967–8 35,011.128 to 10,854.112 (Sotiropoulou 1995: 54). 12 Ibid., p. 56–7. 13 The lack of this evidence is noted by Athanasatou (2001: 112). 14 Ibid., pp. 116–17. For the development and social role of summer cinemas see Eleftheriotis (2002). 15 Sotiropoulou (1989: 83–5); Sotiropoulou (1995: 55); Valoukos (2001: 530); Ananidis (2007: 7). For more details on the major film production companies see Stassinopoulou (2000a: 114–36). 16 Papadimitriou (2006: 15–16). 17 Sotiropoulou (1995: 60); Sotiropoulou (1989: 83–5). For popular comedies and their attractiveness to the audience see also Soldatos (2002: 117). 18 Sotiropoulou (1989: 73–4). 19 For this reason the cinema remained under the authority of the Ministry of Industry during the period under investigation. 20 Kallitechniko Panorama (date n/a). It is also worth mentioning that paradoxically the state applied lighter taxation on imported films than on Greek productions. Greece was the only country in Europe in which the state favoured imported films rather than its own (Akropolis 30.03.1958). On the tax policy of the state towards cinema production see also Stassinopoulou (2000a: 42–3, 106–13). 21 With the law N.3279/55 cinema actually became the sponsor of the other arts. (Sotiropoulou 1989: 45, 73–4). Cinema periodicals like Kinimatografikos Astir and Theamata frequently blamed the Greek state for not supporting national film productions. Some examples of this kind of criticism can be found in Soldatos (2004: 265–6, 289). For the negative role of the state in the development of Greek cinema see also Sotiropoulou (1995: 21–2, 33–4); Papadimitriou (2006: 14).

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

34 35


37 38 39 40

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


Potamitis (2003: 75–6). Ellinikos Kinimatografos (January–February 1967); Stassinopoulou (2012: 138). Sotiropoulou (1989: 47–8). For the representation of political issues in Greek comedies see Delveroudi (2002a). Filopoimin Finos as quoted in Stassinopoulou (2000a: 205). Theamata (15.05.1965). Neighbourhood the Dream and its censoring are thoroughly analysed in Chapter 4. For the censoring of Eternal Love see the furious article in the left newspaper Avyi (25.10.1966). Journal of the British Film Academy (September 1956). Motion Picture Herald (1967). Theamata (30.09.1967). Stassinopoulou gives two examples of films which dared to discuss issues of poverty and deformity openly, one in the early 1950s and the other in the early 1960s. These are Pikro Psomi [Bitter Bread], 1951 by Grigorios Grigoriou and Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream], 1961 by Alekos Alexandrakis. Both films were considered as an insult and as damaging to the international image of Greece. In the case of the film by Alexandrakis police entered the cinema theatre and interrupted its premiere. The film was finally shown later, after protests in the press, and it participated in the Venice Film Festival. (Stassinopoulou 2000b: 48) For the censorship by the state see also Sotiropoulou (1995: 34-6); Delveroudi (2004: 18); Stassinopoulou (2000a: 34). Triandafillidis (1997: 180). Stassinopoulou (2000b: 47). Also, Stassinopoulou (2000a: 69) mentions that most script writers, filmmakers and producers in their interviews characterized their relationship with the censorship committee in the 1960s as a continuous hide and seek in which they were constantly trying to rescue dialogues and images, which were considered risky. There is not a widely accepted definition which would allow a clear distinction between drama/melodrama and comedy/farce comedy in the Greek cinematography of the 1950s and 1960s. For a discussion on the main differences between these genres see Kartalou (2005: 5-6, 131–2); Papadimitriou (2006: 21). Makrinioti (2006: 211). For the depiction of social change in comedies of this period see Delveroudi (2000). Stassinopoulou (1995: 432). For such discussions see Thisavros (19.11.1964); Kallitechniko Panorama (02.08.1965); Makedonia (02.12.1961).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

41 Despite the relatively small number of films produced (around 30), musicals were one of the most popular genres in 1960s. Musicals are an interesting case of a foreign genre, adjusted to the Greek reality. In many musicals, the music and the songs are reminiscent of those of Hollywood in an obviously lower quality, but there are others in which the music and songs featured derive from Greek tradition. Local music and songs are very common in other film genres too i.e. the films of Nikos Xanthopoulos. For more on Greek musicals and the negotiation of indigenous and foreign elements see Papadimitriou (2002; 2006). 42 For rock n’ roll in Greece and its arrival through cinema see Katsapis (2007: 73–5). 43 Arambantzis (1991: 36). 44 For more details on the harsh criticism that many of these films received from film critics see Soldatos (2004: 232–5, 298); Epitheorisi Technis (January 1957). However, the film journal Kinimatografiki Techni (July 1964), gave an alternative explanation for the harsh criticism of certain films by cinema experts. According to this journal often the films critics were biased towards specific films either because they had personal economic interests to influence the audience to watch them or because of their insufficient knowledge about film aesthetics. 45 Sotiropoulou (1995: 26); Karakitsou-Douge (2002: 37) 46 The reasons for the extreme popularity of comedies and melodramas in this period are explained thoroughly in Kapsomenos (1990: 212–13). Other main genres in the Greek cinema of this period include historical films, musicals, war films and the foustanelles (dramatic or love stories situated in Greece during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). For foustanelles see Stassinopoulou (2000a: 200–2) and for historical films Ibid., pp. 225–46. 47 Ananidis (2007: 64). 48 The themes of popular comedies in the 1960s are discussed thoroughly in Delveroudi (2002a: 67–70). 49 Delveroudi (2004: 80, 423). The simplicity and repetition of the same scenarios received very harsh criticism by cinema experts who blamed them as the main causes for the low quality of the vast majority of Greek productions. See Kinimatografiki Techni (October 1964). 50 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 185). For the representations of rural and urban space in Greek popular films of the period under investigation see also Milonaki (2004: 18–24). 51 See Chapter 1. 52 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 193). 53 One of the most popular films of the whole period under examination carries the title Moderna Stahtombouta [Modern Cinderella], 1965.

Greek Cinema: 1949–67


54 Stassinopoulou (1995: 430–1). 55 Kartalou (2002: 31) suggests that this distinction in the representation of ruralurban was influenced by Hollywood views in Westerns (rural-past) and Film Noir (urban-present). For more details about the general representation of rural and urban environments see Arambantzis (1991: 56–8); Milonaki (2004: 18–24); Kartalou (2005: 139–43); Stassinopoulou (2000a: 185, 193). 56 Kartalou (2002: 34). 57 Karakitsou-Douge (2002: 40). The characterization ‘modern’ in the films of this period refers to values, ideas, beliefs, behaviours, material and cultural elements that belong to foreign, western European and mainly US societies. On this issue see Eleftheriotis (2002: 171). 58 Kapsomenos (1990: 217–18). However, the argument of the same author that the Old Greek Cinema underestimated and undermined the Greek tradition and customs seems over-simplistic. Certainly in some films ‘western’ values and lifestyles are promoted. Yet, there are numerous films which criticized and underlined the dangers of the new trends e.g. films belonging to the subgenre of social criticism [koinonikis katangelias]. 59 According to Papadimitriou (2006: 123) Greek cinema in the early 1960s saw for the first time the creation of a star system which was constituted almost exclusively by actors who started their careers directly on the big screen; in the 1950s the leading roles in Greek films were mostly played by theatrical actors. 60 As the executive editor of the film journal Theamata observed: ‘The influence of the film reviews on the audience’s preferences is minimal […] especially the Greek films are scarcely influenced by the critiques […] the reviews are impossible to affect the colossal popularity of Greek commercial films’ (Theamata 30.04.1964). It is also worth mentioning that in a survey performed by the Research Centre of Greek Cinema and Television, 79.83 per cent of the sample could not name a Greek film critic (Theamata 31.12.1967). 61 Soldatos (2002: 117–18). For the relationship of films and audience during the 1960s see also Eleftheriotis (2002: 169). 62 Karakitsou-Douge (2002: 41–2). 63 Kartalou (2005: 196, 392). 64 Eleftheriotis (1995: 239–40). For the filmic persona of Nikos Xanthnopoulos see also Soldatos (2002: 203–4). 65 Arambantzis (1991: 48–50). For Nikos Xanthopoulos and his popularity see also Mitropoulou (2006: 132). 66 These characterizations are quoted from an article in the magazine Athinaia (January 1965). The article discussed the lifestyle of homosexuals in Athens. 67 Kiriakos (2001: 64–72).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

68 Delveroudi (2002a: 68). For consumerism in comedies see also Delveroudi (2000: 167–9). 69 Paradeisi (2002b: 160). For the definition of the genre and analysis of films belonging to it see Kartalou (2005). Characteristic films with this storyline are: Katiforos [The Fall], 1961; Oryi [Anger], 1962; Nomos 4000 [Law 4000], 1960; Ilingos [Vertigo], 1963; and Stefania, 1966. 70 It is worth mentioning that education in melodramas and comedies is negotiated in two main ways. In the first, it tends to appear as something positive, an ideal way to social success for young people and the base for a happy family life afterwards. In the second, it is presented as a process which offers a new way of thinking and new experiences to youth, but simultaneously abstracts them from their roots, traditions, customs, ‘morality’ and leads them to an ambiguous modernized lifestyle. This second depiction of education is especially popular in films which narrate the stories of young people who leave their villages to study in Greek universities or abroad. For education in the Greek productions of the period in question see Stassinopoulou (1995: 432–3). 71 The films of social criticism went against what was repeatedly stated by the state, the church and several ad hoc committees i.e. the cinema urges youth to immorality, Teddy-boyism and criminality. To an extent, films like The Fall, Anger, Law 4000 and Vertigo were a means of re-moralizing Greek society. See Avdela (2005: 38). 72 For this reason the revised law for the operation of cinemas in September 1967 placed a complete ban on the presence of children under the age of four in the cinema theatres. This caused serious practical problems for adult viewers with children who were henceforth unable to enjoy a film if they did not have somewhere to leave their children. See Theamata (30.09.1967) and Motion Picture Herald (1967). 73 On this issue see Kinimatografikos Astir (15.04.1968); Kinimatografikos Astir (December 1964); Kinimatografikos Astir (December 1963); Pantheon (09.05.1962). 74 Avdela (2005: 33). 75 Kartalou (2000: 105); Andritsos (2004: 15). 76 For the ways in which popular Greek comedies can provide insights into their socio-historical context see Delveroudi (2000: 163–4; 2004: 17–19).


Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities

Chapter 3 focuses on how masculinity and gender relations were represented in Greek popular films which depict rural environments and their connections with modern urban ideologies. In general, the Greek countryside was underrepresented in Greek cinema during the 1950s and 1960s and the main films discussed here offer rare views of this environment.1 These views are characterized by a binary representation of masculinity and gender in relation to locality. First, gender identities are represented as entities which highlight a more general antithesis between rural and urban mindsets. Second, at certain times more explicitly than others, this antithesis breaks to suggest a bridging of the two worlds through characters or behaviours which stand somewhere in between rural tradition and urban modernity. As already mentioned, modernity in Greek popular productions connects to the deep changes in economic conditions, consumerism, education, demography, family organization, entertainment, gender spheres, morality and sexuality which took place first in the urban centres and later in the Greek countryside. The chapter is separated into five thematic units which scrutinize this representation through the close reading of the films: To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956, Ayoupa, to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass], 1957, Mandalena, 1960 and Patera Katse Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty], 1967.2

Behind the main story: Representing rural and urban societies As stated in Chapter 2, the study of the cinematic representations of masculinity and gender relations should not be limited to the main story and the leading characters of a film. In these terms, what ‘lies in the background’ of the four


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

films selected for a close reading in this chapter, offers very interesting views of gender in relation to locality. In order to produce films attractive to the masses, the filmmakers tried to present characters and settings which were somewhat familiar to national and – in some cases – international audiences. This was one of the reasons why the relationship of locality to gender was largely represented on an antithetical axis. The Greek countryside was represented as rather ‘stereotypically backward’, thus, closer to Greek customs and traditions, while urban centres were seen as overwhelmed by the advent of modernity which had an obvious Western origin. However, the antithesis between urban and rural often breaks either in the background settings of a film or in its main story, providing insights into the intense interaction between the two environments in the 1950s and 1960s. From the beginning of A Girl in Black, Cacoyannis’ intension to build an antithesis between rural and urban is easily recognizable. The mainland of Hydra appears in scenery of unique natural beauty surrounded by clean blue waters, rocky mountains and wild forests. The long shot of the camera makes the small town in the heart of the island appear as a part of the wild, unspoiled nature, remaining completely unaware of the advent of modernity. Men can be seen working in their fishing boats, relaxing in coffee houses or just drifting around in the streets of the island, while women socialize only with other women (mainly to gossip) and remain in the house to manage the household. In these terms, masculinity in this local society becomes synonymous with the public sphere, while femininity calls to mind the private sphere and domesticity.3 Along the same lines, Mandalena, set in another island of the Aegean, also represents the rural world as male centred, male dominated and strictly gender dichotomized in terms of labour and space. In fact, the whole range of traditional values, ideas and beliefs regarding gender relations as represented in these films, are encapsulated in the advice of Mandalena’s father when he worries about her androgynous character: By behaving like this, the only thing you need [to become a man] is a pair of trousers […]. My beloved daughter you should be more careful in the way you talk to Lambis and his father. A girl should be female; this means a calm and weak person.

Despite the repetition of the same patriarchal structures in Father don’t be Naughty and Bed of Grass the spatial dichotomy is not so intense, at least in labour. However, the weakening of this dichotomy is not equal for both genders. For example, in several scenes women are shown working with men in the fields

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


Mandalena discussing with her father about Lambis (Mandalena, 1960)

but men are never shown providing help to the management of the domestic regime. In these terms, the entrance of women into the public sphere and labour could be attributed to the necessity for extra help in mainland rural environments while on islands it seems that women should ideally remain ‘angels of the house’. Thus, in all films the management of the household remains an exclusively female task with men shown to be ‘guests’ in their homes. With men as the masters of the public sphere, the coffee house is represented in all films as an exclusively male domain, an arena for competing masculinities and at the same time the place where all-important decisions regarding the local communities are taken.4 It becomes a symbol of patriarchy and male dominance which not even unruly women like Mandalena and Ayoupa can enter. Accordingly, in A Girl in Black apart from being a place of male homo-sociality, the coffee house becomes the arena where hegemonies are created within male groups. Inevitably, this leads to the subordination of individual men who do not have any ‘alliances’. In this way, the coffee house eventually becomes the place where local men who do not match the standards of hegemonic masculinity, like Mitsos, come to experience a masculinity crisis. It is also interesting that in some cases the connection of the coffee house to traditional elements of honourable masculinity is confirmed by its internal decoration. For example, in Mandalena, we see pictures of national heroes of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 adorning the walls of a coffee house. The heroes, all male, wearing the traditional fierce moustache and with very serious expressions on their faces, appear as guards of the traditional system of values. However, even inside these spatial symbols of tradition, modernity is not totally absent. In Mandalena as well as in A Girl in Black young men in the coffee houses are not always dressed in the traditional costumes and are completely shaved, showing the advent of change in the rural environments in terms of material culture and fashion.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

In all films the superiority of men over women in terms of power is evident not only within family structures (patriarchy) but also in the structures of authority at a general level. For example, in Mandalena the president of the island, the policemen and the priest who embody the three basic authorities in Greece – political, religious and security – are all male. More or less intensively, all these authorities express their suspicions about the unnatural behaviour of Mandalena, and try to force her to become a ‘normal’ female: the president by persuading the villagers not to support her financially, the police by arresting her because she showed disrespect to the president, and the priest by kindly advising her to follow the longstanding patriarchal morals of the island. So, it can be argued that the social system defends the privileges of men over women not only through a general disapproval of whatever looks unnatural in terms of gender, but also through official institutional forms of authority.5 But even in modernized urban environments the authorities and leading posts in labour are shown to be always occupied by men. In Father don’t be Naughty, the short appearances of the member of the parliament and the policeman are typical examples of male dominance in positions of power. This representation disregards the changes in Greek society that had been taking place since the late 1950s which saw women gaining more and more equality in relation to men and in particular in urban centres. In these terms, it can be argued that these absolute representations of male dominance emphasized traditional patriarchal structures, a factor that stands in contrast to the profile of cinema as a dynamic carrier and agent of social change. 6 The contrast between male and female is also represented very intensively in the language used by all the characters in the films. Especially in Mandalena, the dialogues in various scenes are characterized by a range of symbolisms emphasizing the antithetical nature between males and females. The frequent use of dyadic gendered concepts such as son-daughter, father-mother, masculinefeminine, highlights the connections between the myriad elements of the rural cosmos to male or female gender, with the second consistently subordinated to the first. In a very comic way, male supremacy over the female ‘other’ is implied even with reference to animals i.e. Mandalena’s donkey ‘who had the privilege to be born a male’ as she says in one scene. But even in the most tragic scenes the leading role of men is explicitly present. In the scene in which Mandalena’s father dies, the entire family stands tragically still watching the loss of the male head which is synonymous with the loss of protection and provision. The tragic element in this scene is enhanced both through the framing of the camera

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


which isolates the children around the sick father in the dark room and through the sad music playing in the background. This linguistic and semiotic antithesis between male and female reinforces the role of Mandalena as a character who breaks the longstanding boundaries of gender by undertaking the role of a male provider. In general, the representation of the rural environment and the gender dichotomy in space and labour is in line with reports from various social anthropologists who did their fieldwork in the late 1950s and 1960s.7 Consequently, we can speak of a well-informed representation of the Greek countryside as ‘exotic’ which sky-rocketed the ticket sales of films. In a period of intense economic, demographic and social change, Greece was moving with slow but steady steps towards the loosening of the moral code of honour and shame and to the establishment of an urban-centred character. Films which represented a wild, hard but ‘originally Greek’ character of the countryside ‘consoled’ the average cinemagoer who was struggling to cope with the pace of modernity. In these terms, we can speak of a frequent expression of nostalgia for the traditional way of living especially in comedies and in the least tragic parts of dramas. For example, in the first part of A Girl in Black, Cacoyannis repeatedly uses long camera shots to frame Hydra as a picturesque symbol of lost innocence which has remained untouched by modernity and westernization and to recall the purity of the Mediterranean environment. The same feeling of nostalgia can be found in Mandalena and Father don’t be Naughty. In these films the comic element allowed the directors to shoot scenes showing not only the beauty of the physical environment but also a positive aspect of rural mindset which broke the somewhat stereotypical ‘backward’ representation of the countryside. However, even in its most negative representations, the ‘stereotypical backwardness’ of the Greek countryside magnetized audiences, especially abroad. With the sole exception of Father don’t be Naughty all the other films analysed here, narrate tragic stories which are connected to the unwritten rules of honour and shame. In rural societies, following these rules was less a matter of choice and more a matter of surviving since individuals belonged either to the group of the physically and socially strong, honourable males, or to the physically weak and subordinated women. Whoever fell out of these two categories was vulnerable to all dangers of a harsh social and physical environment. In Bed of Grass and in pointedly tragic terms, Greg Tallas represented a ‘primitiveness’ of rural societies stemming from an unrestrained male sexual instinct. With Ayoupa’s rape, violent sexuality expresses a cruel profile of the Greek


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

countryside which appears to be the main axis of the storyline. This is declared from the very beginning of the film when the director adds a text, in English, as a prologue. Such use of text was extremely rare in Greek productions of the time and its inclusion unveils the director’s anxiety to criticize the traditional structure of rural societies. In this prologue, Tallas repeatedly uses the words ‘primitiveness’ and ‘backwardness’ to explain the context of the story. However, the text also infers the victimization of everybody in rural societies including men (‘[…] economic conditions have forced celibacy on millions of males […]’) and it does not restrict this idea to Greece nor to the mid-1950s (‘Throughout the world in all times sexual hunger has frequently broken into violence, rape, even murder’). This generalization possibly served to attribute a more universal quality to the meanings of Bed of Grass, to move beyond the Greek national context and simultaneously make the film more attractive to audiences abroad and less vulnerable to censorship in Greece. The ‘exotic’ representation of rural societies is often created through a direct contrast with urban environments. In A Girl in Black the camera’s shot of the local population of Hydra in parallel with a view of Athenian tourists reveals their differences in terms of material culture. In contrast to the fashionable dress code of the visitors, the local men appear in old-fashioned, worn-out clothes and some of them still wear the traditional moustache. When it comes to women, the contrast becomes even more intense. The long, plain, loose, old-fashioned or traditional dresses of the native women make a sharp contrast with the modern, short and sexy dresses of the tourists.8 Moreover, the buildings, the interiors of the houses, the coffee houses and the taverns have nothing to do with those in urban houses or entertainment places which appear regularly in other films of this period. They remain simple, plain, without electric devices, expensive furniture or impressive neon lights and foreign music. The contrast in material culture symbolizes the gap in peoples’ mentalities and lifestyles. Moreover, from the beginning of A Girl in Black everything in Hydra seems to have clear gender connotations: space, labour, material culture, everyday behaviour and morality, are closely related to the traditional code of honour and shame. However, this unspoiled character of the island is implicitly shown in a state of change. The modernity of the cities is not evident in the lifestyle of the islanders, but the island itself is shown to be approachable for people from urban environments and tourists who inevitably bring a breeze of change to this traditional context. The two protagonists, Pavlos and Marina, also contrast the dichotomies of rural and urban by becoming poles of interaction which

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


negotiate elements of rural and urban lifestyles. Thus, their love becomes a process of negotiation and change which fundamentally reshapes their character and lifestyle by the end of the film. Similarly, in the first part of Father don’t be Naughty (before Papastafidas falls in love with Bendy), the director builds rigid dichotomies between the urban and the rural world as well as the younger and elder generations which eventually break with the transformation of Papastafidas into a middle-aged teenager. The film begins by showing Thomas, a young man from a rural background in the capital city of Athens, having fun with his company which consists of young people from urban families. The representation of the way that this company lives reflects upon the major social and cultural changes in Greece during the 1960s.9 Every night they have fun in nightclubs, consume large amounts of alcohol, listen to Anglo-American music, wear fashionable clothes and show disrespect to any parental restrictions. Young men and women appear to live by following these rules: consume, enjoy, be lazy and live for today. Furthermore, in this modern company men and women enjoy an equal status. The traditional male leadership is not explicitly evident and decisions are taken in democratic ways, independent of gender. Also, both genders often use slang, call their parents ‘old man’ and ‘old woman’ and discuss the various problems and fights they have with them on a daily basis. Foreign influences are quite obvious in this company: they take evident pleasure in consuming imported products like spirits and cigarettes, their idols are international cinema stars and they even change their names in order to sound more foreign (i.e. Tom for Thomas and Bendy for Elisavet). There is an explicit suggestion that this company adores everything that comes from abroad, considering it to be superior to what exists – or does not exist – in Greece. What is most remarkable here is the behaviour of the female members of the company. Far beyond the traditional code of female shame, they drink, smoke, swear, spend entire nights outside the parental roof, and it is even implied that they have premarital sexual relations. Moreover, the entire company seems to be aware of the dangers related to their behaviour and especially of the Law 4000 against Teddy boys.10 It has to be noted, however, that due to his rural background Thomas is represented differently than the other members of his urban company. Even if he follows them through their various entertainments he is definitely not the ‘soul’ of the company. He is not a leader but a follower, the most conservative member of the group and fairly often he appears to be taken advantage of by his ‘friends’. In general, he embodies a rather naïve country boy who has come to the city in


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

order to study but has been disorientated by the temptations of the capital city. It could be fairly argued that through Thomas the countryside is represented partly as the victim of an urban modernization.11 If we look at the four films comparatively in terms of popularity the huge success of Father don’t be Naughty is immediately evident. With more than 200,000 tickets sold, it was one of the biggest box office successes in 1967, the year in which the number of Greek productions reached its peak of 196 and the annual number of tickets sold totalled the outstanding number of 137,074,815. Father don’t be Naughty is a typical example of a film offering the average cinemagoer exactly what they wanted: laughter and relaxation with a simple, comprehensible story and funny characters which satirized familiar social phenomena, structures and power relations. Thus, the purpose of its production did not demand any high art elements; on the contrary the popularity of this kind of film was based on their direct expression, the simple plot and the persuasive performances of the actors.12 For these reasons Father don’t be Naughty did not have any significant reviews in the Greek press.13 Furthermore, since it was destined exclusively for domestic ‘mass consumption’, it was not reviewed by international film journals or newspapers. Moreover, the absence of a negative representation of any aspect of Greek society provoked no reaction among critics. However, even if Father don’t be Naughty was absent from film journals and newspapers, its actors and, most importantly, Lambros Konstandaras, the male protagonist, appeared regularly in popular magazines which were read by thousands of Greeks. Unlike Father don’t be Naughty, the other three films had a rich, and in many cases controversial reception by the press not only in Greece but also abroad. This happened for three main reasons. First, in contrast to the vast majority of low-cost productions that overwhelmed the Greek cinemas during this period, they were of relevantly high artistic quality, a factor that attracted the interest of film experts. Second, they aimed not only at domestic but also at international audiences and participated in various festivals. Thus, they had the chance to represent Greece abroad and gain a place in the columns of international newspapers, film journals and magazines. Last but not least, the ‘exotic’ representation of rural Greece and the values of the traditional patriarchal system raised a series of controversial discussions among film critics who have been constantly preoccupied with the filmic representation of ‘Greekness’.14 On the one hand, Greek critics – especially of the left – anathematized anything that

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


represented their country negatively, in particular when such negative representations related to the lower strata of Greek society. On the other hand, the international press welcomed the ‘exotic’ depiction of a magnificent natural environment and culture. Foreigners were enthusiastic about the representation of Mediterranean societies which resisted or remained unaware of the advent of the ‘westernizing’ modernity. As a result, filmic representations were discussed by the Greek and international press as having connotations far beyond the cinema screens and as being carriers of social and political meanings. A common point in the reviews of the films by the Greek and international press is the general recognition of their quality in technical terms. They refer to an excellent direction, remarkable performances by the actors and actresses, and superb photography. The latter in particular was praised in each of the films studied here on the grounds that it managed to give a very vivid taste of the wild physical beauty of the Greek islands and mainland villages.15 For example, the English photographer Walter Lassally is often congratulated for helping Cacoyannis to ‘achieve his sense of locale, not by thrusting local colour before us but by going close to his characters and observing them with affectionate but unromantic eyes’16 and because his photography ‘sensitively evokes the harsh Greek atmosphere’.17 The foreign press also made frequent mention of the relatively low budgets used for the production of A Girl in Black (approx. $60,000)18 and the lack of high-tech equipment which, thanks to the skills of the director and the photographer, did not reduce the quality of the final result.19 Keeping in mind the technical quality of this production which was quite frequently characterized by cinema experts as ‘flawless’,20 it is striking that the film was shot with the use of only a single small camera and over a period of just eight weeks.21 It could be argued that the choice of Cacoyannis to use a non-Greek photographer played an important role to the international success of the film. Lassally, as a foreigner, managed to highlight the most attractive elements of Greek culture, landscape and temperament giving an exotic character to the country which mesmerized international audiences. After the huge success of A Girl in Black in 1956 perhaps it is no coincidence that Dinos Dimopoulos decided to employ the same photographer for Mandalena in 1960. In Mandalena, Lassally’s photography was also received very positively because in contrast with many of the low-quality mass-production films of this period it was not static. This gave the film a remarkable flow and coherence.22 The actors’ performances and the film photography were the two main elements in Mandalena which made it, according to the critics, a


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

bright example of a commercial film showing ‘what could be achieved in this kind of cinema when the filmmakers respect the taste of their audience and try to improve its quality’.23 The fact that the shooting took place in a natural environment and not in professional studios also contributed to the originality of the scenes. Thus, the physical scenery and the people of Antiparos gave to the film an original character which was acknowledged by the critics.24 In this way, they tried to encourage the creation of quality films in a period when low-quality productions were blooming. Furthermore, in addition to expressing positive comments about Mandalena, some Greek critics also avoided referring extensively to the artistically ‘weak’ part of the film, its plot. Alternatively, they treated it as a totally fictional story, which had little to do with rural reality in Greece. This treatment of the film contrasts a very significant aspect of the production; the fact that the plot was based on a true story which had taken place in Antiparos, where the film was set, as it was remembered by the scriptwriter, Yiorgos Roussos. This disregard for the originality of the plot also formed the basis of one of the strongest criticisms of the film, which saw a part of the press describing it as extremely unrealistic and full of fake melodramatic scenes.25 Bed of Grass had a similar reception to Mandalena. A very interesting comment on this film appears in the film journal Kinimatografikos Astir, which despite anticipating the arrival of this warmly received film in the USA describes its screening in Greece as a complete let down. After two years of preparation, the film finally found its way to the screen and everybody was expecting it to be good, perhaps because it was directed by a Greek-American. For God’s sake! What a creation! With the only exceptions being the wonderful photograph and the superb female protagonist, nothing else deserves even to make a word for here; not the performances of the actors, nor the plot, nothing! It is really surprising that a well-known distribution company like Damaskinos-Mihailidis decided to import and show such an unimportant and ridiculous film in three of the most popular cinemas of the capital.26

Similarly, the newspaper Avyi expressed a deep disappointment regarding the general quality of the film and especially its storyline. It is very interesting to see how explicitly some film critics of the left considered films that negatively depicted the lower classes in rural or urban environments as entirely unworthy of being watched.

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


They [the filmmakers] wanted to show a conflict between a backward and superstitious rural society with the modern, rational way of thinking. With such intentions it is impossible to make films. What we watched here is a ridiculous, naïve creation, without style, which becomes funnier than an anecdote […]. What a waste of money!27

It is also worth mentioning that the positive reviews of Bed in Grass do not take a critical stance on the plot of the film and do not comment on the negative depiction of the Greek rural world. Neither do they refer to the impressions that the film might possibly create to foreign audiences. A shining example of this kind of review comes from the newspaper Apoyevmatini which ends the description of the storyline without mentioning any of the rapes or the murder of the female protagonist. The two rapists are described simply as two young villagers who ‘charmed by the beauty of the young woman are seeking her in the fields’.28 The sole exception to this rule was provided by the newspaper Akropolis, which concludes its positive review by characterizing the plot as extremely interesting, capable of realistically presenting the clash between the traditional world of superstition, illiteracy and narrow-mindedness with the world of modern, educated and open-minded people.29 However, none of the Greek critics made a comment on the fact that this ‘totally unrealistic’ plot was, just like in the case of Mandalena, based on a true story.30 In A Girl in Black the fact that the provocations and insults against Marina and her family are shown taking place with the silent tolerance of all the islanders increases the tragic element of the film. Thus, A Girl in Black – just like Bed of Grass – is not simply a story of some notorious men in a Greek island teasing the unprotected. It is in fact a direct representation of the victimization of the weak, both men and women, in rural societies. This seems to have been the main reason for the criticism of these films by leftist circles in Greece. Cacoyannis was often accused of depicting rural society as consisting exclusively of ‘gossipers, tramps, notorious, evil, primitive and immoral people’.31 Critics argued that it would have been impossible even in such societies not to find at least one sensible man who would consider it as his manly duty to defend, for example, an orphan girl (i.e. Marina in A Girl in Black) when she was publicly harassed. According to Moschovakis, this negative representation of Greece’s rural society was used in order to increase a fake antithesis between urban and rural and to present the two urban protagonists as the embodiment of morality: ‘It looks like the civilized Kolonaki32 comes to re-humanize the uncivilized countryside. This


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

is such an aristocratic point of view’.33 In some cases the press explicitly accused Cacoyannis of being ignorant of ‘real Greek culture’ because he had been living in the UK for many years. Here are two examples of such reviews: Even the best shoemaker in London cannot make tsarouhia [traditional Greek shoes] as well as Greek shoemakers. In this case Mr Cacoyannis is the shoemaker from London. He has lived and grew up abroad and the few years he spent here were not enough to put the Greek mentality and lifestyle in his blood.34 Cacoyannis has been living abroad for too long and thus fails to show the Greek reality on screen. Greek islanders would never behave in the way that Cacoyannis presented, but this sole disadvantage of the film is balanced by its outstanding direction.35

Even reviews of A Girl in Black, which were overall positive, mentioned that the director did not manage to represent persuasively the morals, ideas and beliefs of the islanders.36 Cacoyannis was also accused of irresponsibly integrating as many ‘Greekish’ elements as possible in his film to achieve a wider high-brow audience and to impress the committee selecting the films for international festivals.37 Apparently the representation of a cruel rural reality in a film that was going to represent Greece internationally frustrated these critics. In these terms their accusations against Cacoyannis, Greg Tallas and other directors for making films aiming solely for festival nominations are not a surprise. We have to realise that the more authentically Greek reality is mirrored in films, the more patriotic the films are and the warmer their reception will be by international audiences. Otherwise if we continue producing films to “festival recipes” we are condemned to continue taking one step forward – in terms of artistic quality – and two steps back – in terms of content.38

It can be argued, however, that these criticisms are not entirely unrealistic. These directors, aiming to impress international audiences, may have attempted to portray the Greek countryside as an ‘exotic’ Mediterranean environment and thus overemphasized certain elements of the rural mindset. It is also important to note that while the negative representation of the countryside raised this criticism, the superiority of the urban lifestyle was not contested but implicitly accepted. A final point is that the fears of the Greek film critics regarding the international reception of a negative representation of rural Greece were to a great extent confirmed by the foreign press. Many foreign reviewers described the storylines

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


at face value, as if they had simply been taken from everyday Greek reality and marvellously transferred to the screen. Cacoyannis’ view of the cruel rural society, the marginalized family of Marina, the mockery of young fishermen, the view of urban foreigners as ‘intruders’ upon Hydra’s social system was considered by critics as the basic element which ‘brings a bold and direct observation which makes the film exciting, often fiercely real’.39 Even the plot itself, which was negatively discussed by almost all Greek film critics, was generally described by major foreign film journals as excellent, with the director’s approach seen as subtle, sensitive and assured.40 The representation of a constant and often injust suffering on the island of Hydra also played an important role with regard to the international popularity of the film since it was often described and promoted by the foreign press as a modernized ‘Greek tragedy’. Ancient Greek tragedies were among the most widely known Greek cultural artefacts and a characterization of a film as a contemporary tragedy by many major newspapers worked as the best advertisement abroad.41 As Georgakas mentions, Cacoyannis was the only director of the time who managed to create world-class films by skilfully blending elements from the very popular genre of Greek melodrama with the conventions of Greek tragedy in order to offer candid representations of the social status of Greek women.42 In these terms the repeated elaboration of female protagonists by Cacoyannis, around which the main story unfolds, contributed significantly to the success of all his films in Greece and abroad. Bed of Grass had a similarly ‘reality-oriented’ international reception. In some cases critics appeared eager to believe anything that would confirm a picture of Greece as a backward society. Therefore, its apparent hostility to modern ideas, the predominance of patriarchy and the merciless treatment of weak people was warmly received. Perhaps for this reason foreign critics often referred to the uniqueness of the place where the film was shot and of the characters who appear on screen.43 However, this also implies that they were preoccupied with certain stereotypical ideas about the Greek countryside that required confirmation before they were willing to write a positive review. As some reviews note, the film reinforced a ‘primitive’ image of Greece in the most violent way. There is nothing glamorous about the peasant community in the Greek film Bed of Grass […] it is primitive in the worst sense of that over-used word, cruel and harsh, superstitious, violent and scareable, with passions so near the surface they dribble at the mouth, an alarming sight.44


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

This exhibition of ‘primitivism’ seems to have been Greg Tallas’ primary objective and provides a fairly convincing reason for the selection of the village Topolia for the location. As the following reviewer mentions, the natural ‘backwardness’ of its inhabitants made it the perfect setting for the specific story. Bed of Grass was made entirely in and around Topilia one of the most backward villages in all of Greece. Here the director found the living conditions so shockingly primitive, the natives so superstitious and backward in their thinking, that it was the ideal locale for his film about the barbarism of large sections of modern Greece. Villagers were used for all the minor roles and their weatherbeaten, care-worn faces can be seen in close-up.45

Honour, shame and the ‘omnipresent neighbourhood’ In these exotically represented rural environments, masculinity and femininity are inter-dependent categories; the one is always measured in relation to the other. Men’s honour depends largely on women’s shame and women enjoy a higher status when the male head of the family is regarded by the society as honourable. It should also be noted that the unwritten but well-established rules shaping gender behaviours and identities are checked and measured everywhere and at all times. Men and women on the islands and in mainland villages are always anxious about the ‘invisible eyes’ of the society which constantly monitor whether or not they live according to the morals of patriarchy. This confirms Eleftheriotis’ argument that in Greek films of this period ‘being male involves a negotiation of the position that a man occupies in the domestic sphere, the extended family and the omnipresent neighbourhood’.46 However, this anxiety about ‘what people will say’ is definitely not an exclusively rural phenomenon. On the contrary, men and women in urban environments are shown trying to protect their private lives from the penetrating gaze of a society which perpetually investigates their respect to the code of honour and shame. Thus, this social ‘hide and seek’ in its comic or tragic form becomes a link between the two environments indicating the various continuities from patriarchal tradition which survived the advent of modernity. Father don’t be Naughty offers several examples of the ways in which the modernized society of Athens constantly checks the behaviours of men and women and how this becomes an obstacle in the relationship of Papastafidas

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


with Bendy. More precisely, the gossiping of Bendy’s neighbours about her affair with an older man serves to frustrate her brother Periklis, who is the most ‘traditionally thinking’ character in the film. When Periklis sees the shameless couple together for the first time he threats to kill Papastafidas; the murder is prevented only through the engagement of his sister. But this rehabilitation of honour is not performed solely on a personal level, which would represent honour as a self-constructed entity. On the contrary, Periklis’ honour largely depends on public opinion and especially on that of other males. Since the film belongs to the genre of comedy, Periklis’ frustration does not lead to the murder of those responsible for his humiliation. However, such use of violence is not uncommon in dramas nor in Greek society of this period. This becomes clear if we turn to the study of the numerous ‘crimes of honour’ which were committed by furious brothers, fathers and husbands during the 1950s and 1960s in urban and rural environments.47 It could be fairly argued that on several occasions A Girl in Black confirms what has been repeatedly stated by social anthropologists regarding hegemonic masculinity in traditional Greek societies: that honour, the most important masculine virtue, is not only a matter of a private state but also a matter of public recognition, depending largely on the sexual purity of women and their unspoiled reputation.48 Honour becomes the main criterion according to which masculine hierarchies are built with men being classified at various ‘levels’ ranging from the hegemonic to the most subordinated forms of masculinity. For this reason, Mitsos undergoes a tragic masculine crisis since the rumours about his mother’s sexual affairs with local men transform him in the eyes of the islanders into a male failure. The importance of the social verdict about the moral status of each individual is shown in the decisive way in which Mitsos

Periklis (right) threatening Papastafidas (left) (Father don’t be Naughty, 1967)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

speaks to Andonis: ‘I only have one sister left. I would prefer to kiss her dead than see her with a damaged reputation’. Another scene to highlight the inescapability of the rules of rural society is when Marina watches her beloved Pavlos walking up and down waiting to see her through the grilles of a closed window. Marina is shown crying and leaning on the window in a desperate way.49 She is a person virtually and symbolically imprisoned in the domestic domain, which here tends to symbolize the suffocating code of female shame. Marina appears unable to leave the shadows, to put a harsh rural cosmos behind her and to view and experience a whole new reality: the modern lifestyle which Pavlos symbolizes. Apart from the actress’ dramatic performance, the suffering of Marina is also expressed via the use of dark lighting whenever she appears in her house – the traditional female domain and the symbol of the family unit. The old, almost derelict house symbolizes the moral failures and the destroyed unity of her family: Marina, Froso and Mitsos work much more as individuals than as a family unit, something that inevitably weakens their social status. In the scene of Marina’s ‘imprisonment’ in her own house analysed above, as well as in many other internal and external shots, Cacoyannis uses close-ups of Marina’s face in order to increase the dramatic element. Many Greek critics, however, referred to this as one of the film’s weaknesses. According to them it was not necessary for the camera to focus so extensively and repeatedly on Elli Lambeti’s crying face in order to point out the main meanings of the film.50 However, this implies a rather simplistic point of view which fails to appreciate the symbolic aspect of Marina’s character. Marina is the most important tool in

Marina watches Pavlos from her window (A Girl in Black, 1956)

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


Cacoyannis’ efforts to express the harsh nature of rural life as a whole, far beyond the former’s own tragic story. When the camera focuses on her crying or sad face, Marina becomes a symbol which expresses the failures of the social system in which the rural population has to live. The emotional state of the people on the island is characterized by pain, suffering and anxiety. In many scenes the camera isolates Marina’s tragic face without the use of other expressional means such as sound or language. This silent suffering recalls the kind of female subordination in rural environments which led many anthropologists to describe women as ‘mute objects’.51 Cacoyannis’ choice of Elli Lambeti for this role and his insistence on the use of gros plan was received very positively by foreign journals, some of whom pronounced the young protagonist as ‘the new Greta Garbo’.52 It should also be noted that the constant suffering on the part of the protagonists and their hatred of a society which constantly monitors their morality is a common axis in films which expose the tragic aspect of rural life. In A Girl in Black for example, Mitsos’ failure to commit a crime of honour is followed by an acutely tragic scene: Marina holds her injured brother in her arms and shouts desperately to the gathered crowd: ‘Leave us alone! What have we done to you?’ It is striking that immediately after becoming involved in her brother’s fight and despite the fact that the man who beat him up is in front of her, Marina generalizes her accusations against the society of Hydra as a whole. She proclaims the society of Hydra responsible for her brother’s tragedy on account of the fact that they left him no choice but to try to clean his name through violent means.

Tragedy and ‘imprisonment’ expressed through Marina’s face (A Girl in Black, 1956)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Similar accusations against rural society are evident in Mandalena in several scenes which instantly bring the film closer to the genre of drama than to comedy.53 In two dramatic scenes, Mandalena declares her deep disappointment and hatred towards the society in which she has to live. First, when the furious president implicitly calls her a beggar in front of a crowd in the churchyard, she bursts into tears and leaves the scene shouting: ‘Leave me alone, I am so fed up with all of you, leave me alone’. Second, in her confession to the priest she appears to confess her hatred of everybody on the island. As in A Girl in Black, the criticism of the social system here is holistic; it allows no exceptions and shows the failure of traditional structures to support the weakest members of the society. Moreover, it demonstrates how important it was for a woman to follow all the rules of shame in order to be respected. This point becomes even clearer in Bed of Grass which exposes the code of honour and shame as extremely cruel and inflexible. It narrates the story of Ayoupa, an orphan girl raped by a bandit in her teens, who then suffers complete abandonment by society. Ayoupa’s step-family never accepts her back and the people of the village throw stones against her until she leaves. Through the protagonist’s mistreatments the film highlights how the loss of virginity before marriage in rural societies is regarded as disgraceful and scandalous for a woman even if it happens through no fault of her own. In fact, after Ayoupa is raped for the first time the villagers stop regarding her as a woman and treat her more like an object or an animal. A scene showing Ayoupa giving birth to her stillborn child in a stable alone, surrounded only by cows and horses, symbolically expresses her fall into this category. A final point concerns the omnipresence of the neighbourhood – which aimed to monitor morality according to the rules of honour and shame – and the way in which this functioned as the ultimate means through which a traditional

Mandalena and the rural society (Mandalena, 1960)

Mandalena’s confession (Mandalena, 1960)

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


system of values sought to survive in a changing modernized world. In fact, the neighbourhood had a binary function. On the one hand it served to enhance a rather ‘exotic’ picture of Greece. On the other hand, its representation in both rural and urban settings bridged the distance between the countryside and the big cities.

Breaking the context … or not? Despite the antithetical representation of an ‘exoticized’ Greek countryside opposed to modernized urban centres, the dichotomies between rural-urban and modern-traditional often break to suggest that the gap between the two worlds is not unbridgeable. In most cases the role of the ‘bridge’ is played by those protagonists who try to overcome the collective ways of thinking and living in their environment and adopt elements which clash with their social and cultural context. Thus they often appear somewhere ‘in between’ the city and the countryside. However, what is really interesting in these representations is that they do not interpret modernity as a one-way, top-to-bottom, urban-to-rural phenomenon. On the contrary, social change is represented as a process of constant negotiation between the two ‘antithetical’ worlds with many elements from the longstanding patriarchal model surviving into a new context. Thus on numerous occasions the breaking of the context by the protagonists remains unclear and open to various interpretations which confirm the complex and problematic nature of modernity. A Girl in Black shows very clearly a controversial renegotiation of gender identities and patriarchy in which Pavlos and Marina have a central place. On the one hand, Pavlos, before becoming a ‘hero’ who rescues an unprotected female from misery, is involved in his own internal fight for change. He builds up a new masculine self by finding the courage to change his miserable life which is characterized by an unsuccessful career and financial dependency on his mother. The rural environment helps him to recover, to find a purpose in his life and to gain back his self-confidence, elements that were lost in the processes of modernity and urban living. In some sense, he is inclined to return to traditional values, to traditional ways of thinking about what is honourable and worthwhile. Thus, the issue of nostalgia for a lost, unspoiled masculinity comes


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

to the surface with the rural environment becoming the means of overcoming the masculinity crisis that accompanies modernity. Marina also goes through her own personal transformation. At the beginning of the film she is a scared, unprotected and ‘mute’ girl.54 However, through constant contact with Pavlos and his modernized way of thinking and living, she manages to overcome her fears of social criticism. For example, in one of the most intense scenes towards the end of the film, Marina is shown entering a male group and provoking their leader, Christos, into discussion about the tragic drowning of the children. This scene signifies the demolition of stereotypes regarding female subordination and the gendered dichotomy of space. Marina makes her own personal revolt against the restrictions of the code of female shame. Thus, despite living in a rural environment, she starts to adopt elements of the modernized urban way of living for women. In this way, masculinity, femininity and gender relations are shown in a process of negotiation and change which bridges the gap between rural and urban. This negotiation constitutes a strange blend of nostalgia for tradition and at the same time of anticipation for the advent of modernity which as a result enhanced the complex construction of gender identities. It could be fairly hypothesized that Pavlos and Marina express an idealistic combination of old and new gender elements in order to help the audience identify with them. One conclusion could be that the main meaning of A Girl in Black is not a call for the abandonment of patriarchy or traditional values. Pavlos and Marina are implicitly shown to abandon Hydra for Athens with the perspective of starting a new life together, but again it is evident that he will be the head of their family. This is confirmed by the fact that Pavlos is shown to make the decision about taking Marina back to Athens entirely on his own. The couple is not shown discussing their future life together; their future is decided by Pavlos. Furthermore, while Pavlos makes arrangements to find a job, he does not even mention the possibility of his partner working. Moreover, in terms of femininity, Marina’s morality – according to the code of female shame – maintains a positive image since it is rewarded with the love of the protagonist and the abandonment of the island. In these terms we can speak of a main meaning of improvement, modernization and loosening of the patriarchal system but not of its complete abandonment. The rescue of a young, beautiful and moral woman by a brave modern man is a story which in itself promotes the idea of male powerfulness and female subordination. This is also a nostalgic message which stereotypically connects masculinity with powerfulness and braveness,

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


and femininity with virginity and softness. It is worth mentioning, however, that some foreign reviews of the film identified in Marina some revolutionary feminist elements and considered her escape from the rural environment as a personal achievement.55 A more radical rupture of traditional values, morals and beliefs regarding masculinity, femininity and gender relations is evident in Mandalena. Here the plot leads the central heroine to reverse traditional gender roles and shows the reaction of the society to this extraordinary phenomenon. Thus gender is negotiated constantly during the film via the antitheses between male and female, traditional and modern, moral and immoral. It is also interesting that the name of the island on which the story is set is never mentioned in the film.56 In this way, what the film represents is not geographically restricted to a specific region, rather it acquires a more general appeal to all island communities in Greece. The central heroine, Mandalena, played by Aliki Vouyiouklaki (undoubtedly the most popular actress in the history of Greek cinema) comes to disturb the traditional patriarchal system. Everybody looks at her with suspicion because her attitude contrasts her feminine gender. Despite her astonishing beauty, she embodies the characteristics and behaviour of a young lad [pallikari].57 She helps her father in daily work as if she was a son and even dares to provoke fights with the competitor ferry owner, Lambis. She calls him names, shouts at him, laughs at him, actions entirely permissible for a young lad but certainly not expected of a decent girl. The whole village snipes that she should be more modest, calm and shy and try to find a husband and settle down. Her attitude is regarded as an anomaly for the female stereotype and also a threat for the dominance of masculinity. ‘She is better than a son, but she still wears dresses’ her father complains secretly to her grandmother. This conversation clearly indicates the belief that a woman is considered inferior to man by nature; no matter how hard she tries Mandalena will never upgrade her status to reach that of a son. Aliki Vouyiouklaki’s performance met with very positive comments because most critics recognized the fact that she played superbly a role fairly different to those she had played until then, and one that did not match with her established filmic persona: ‘Mandalena gave the opportunity to Aliki Vouyiouklaki to unveil her acting skills in storylines that looked so far incompatible with her talent and with her fresh and cute temperament’.58 The stardom of the protagonists and the perceived need for them to be in harmony with the roles they


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

played is also evident in the comments of major film journals and newspapers which concluded that: ‘The excellent actress Aliki Vouyiouklaki, even though she performs superbly in the film, was not very well suited for the role of a ferry owner’59 and ‘[…] Dimitris Papamihail performed well in a role that did not fit well his artistic temperament’.60 What is really surprising here is that the critics, even those most sceptical about the film, did not comment on the fact that the way Aliki Vouyiouklaki embodied the role of Mandalena stood in contrast to the behaviour of the average girl from the Greek islands. In a sense, a young, blonde, beautiful and well-groomed actress in the leading female role was offering a complimentary representation of rural Greek women. Perhaps for this reason this ‘idealistically unreal’ image of Mandalena passed almost uncommented. Even after her father’s death and despite all her poverty, Mandalena maintains this glamorous look which is often accompanied by a quite sexy dress code, bringing a ‘breeze from Hollywood’ into a small rural society.61 In some cases the critics expressed their admiration of the way that the scriptwriter, the director and the photographer managed to make the film benefit from the stardom and the natural beauty of the actress.62 The framing of the camera for frequent close-ups on the actress’ beautiful face with the overtlyfeminized characteristics (blonde hair, intense make-up, extended eyelashes) clearly contributed to this idealistic representation. In this way it can be argued that the critics were concerned only with representations that were negatively unrealistic for Greece, while in cases of ‘flattering unrealism’ they did not express any serious criticism. Moreover, the curious mixture of elements taken from the actress’ ‘pink urban stardom’ and the feministic rural dynamism required for the needs of her specific role, demonstrate the complexities in representing the breaking of stereotypes while trying to maximize the film’s commercial value. In Mandalena the breaking of the ‘backward’ context is expressed not only through the female protagonist’s character but also through the reaction of the local population to the advent of modernity. Towards the end of the film, Lambis and his father buy a new ferryboat which is much faster than the older model since it uses a petrol engine instead of sails. Everyone immediately forgets Mandalena’s boat and instead opts to use the modern one which as they say: ‘It is a product of science and civilization’. Thus the boat becomes a symbol of modernity implying that sooner or later many changes will enter the islanders’ lives. It also illustrates urban and foreign influences on the countryside since it is a product of advanced technology. The islanders’ enthusiasm about the boat leaves an impression that they will gradually adopt a more modern lifestyle. The

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


advent of modernity on the island community is also evident in material culture and fashion. While all elderly and middle-aged women wear traditional dresses, younger women appear in much more fashionable outfits. Similarly, older men wear traditional clothes and moustaches, the old-fashioned symbol of masculinity, while many younger males including the male protagonist Lambis are completely clean-shaven. In the final scene of the film, Mandalena’s old-fashioned boat carries the passengers to shore after Lambis’ mechanical boat breaks down in the middle of its trip. Thus the film closes with a very interesting change in the representations of the protagonists that now take the form: Lambis-masculinity-modernity seeks help and Mandalena-femininity-tradition offers help. The breaking down of the engine boat can be also interpreted as a symbolization of a forthcoming breaking of the male dominance in rural societies, as well as of the problematic nature of modernity in which ‘not everything works as expected’. Despite this accident, the end of the film does not imply an abandonment of patriarchy but only a more flexible model with regard to gender roles and spheres. The abandonment of paid labour outside the domestic domain by Mandalena is a clear clue that even the strongest feminist views are still sacrificed in the prospect of a successful marriage.63 Even in comic terms the representation of a crisis in the traditional patriarchal system remained a sensitive issue for Greek society and was received quite controversially by some members of the audience. Despite the fact that according to the Censorship Committee Mandalena fell into the category of films ‘appropriate for all ages’ there were still some voices that did not agree with this decision. An example of this disagreement can be found in the film journal Ta Theamata. The journal published details of a cinema theatre owner’s attempt to sue a high school headmaster in the provincial town of Igoumenitsa. According to this publication, the headmaster entered the cinema before the screening of Mandalena and began to send all the students from his school out of the theatre.64 In reply to the prosecutor, who stated that the film was appropriate for young ages and that the only authority that had the right to send people away was the police, the furious headmaster threatened violence and called the former ‘a morally weak person’. It further transpired that he sent two teachers to the exits of the theatre to note down the names of the students in order to expel them from school the next day. The whole incident ended only after the arrival of the police who sent the headmaster and his teachers out of the cinema. The headmaster’s ‘dictatorial’ action demonstrates that cinema


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

was often seen negatively, and viewed as a form of entertainment which was morally corrupting especially for the young.65 Furthermore, the fact that the incident took place in a small provincial town and not in one of the hundreds of cinemas in the capital or other big cities, indicates that in smaller communities, modernity was questioned much more intensively than in large urban centres. In addition, it can be hypothesized that the whole incident occurred not only because of a general demonization of the cinema by older generations, but also due to the content of the specific film. Given the disturbance of the traditional male dominance over the female protagonist, the old-fashioned male headmaster may have considered the film as a bad influence on his students. In these terms, we could speak of the dictatorial behaviour of a male authority trying to maintain the longstanding privileges of patriarchy, in the male-centred society of a Greek provincial town. However, this incident should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon but as a part of a wider reaction against the cinema in rural areas. Often films that passed the check of the censorship committee and were categorized as ‘appropriate for all ages’ faced this second, unofficial but even stricter inspection on the part of headteachers. Since the early 1960s the punishment of students who were found or had been seen in cinemas by their school teachers, became so frequent that Dimakopoulos, the president of the ‘Union of Countryside Cinema Owners’, considered it necessary to send a letter of complaint about these incidences to the minister of Education and Religion. As Dimakopoulos observes, ‘by doing so the school directors illegally deprive their students of the only way of mass entertainment in their isolated communities’.66 To return to the discussion of the representations of patriarchy, if we take a comparative view of the four films, Ayoupa is undoubtedly the character that expresses the cruelty of the patriarchal context in the most tragic way. The scenes of chase leading to her rape acquire a symbolic character; Ayoupa becomes sexual prey for men whose masculinity becomes synonymous with unrestrained sexuality.67 For the villagers, Ayoupa is not a person – since she is not protected by a male – but an object which will even come to function as a sexual price in their card games. As the film demonstrates a female alone belongs to nobody and everyone and the violent sexuality of the peasants is elaborated by the director as a capstone to their ‘primitiveness’ and cruelty. With the whole village turned against her, the central heroine is considered an evil spirit responsible for a series of unfortunate events, including the murder of Yioryis by his friend Tonis. The fact that this murder occurs while the victim

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


and the perpetrator are fighting over who had the right to rape the trapped Ayoupa, is not enough to exonerate her from the blame.68 The murder of Ayoupa takes place after she leaves the house of the doctor, when the villagers grab their chance and pursue her in the fields. This murder is the ultimate tool employed by the director to incriminate rural society as a whole; to show how the people of a village, formed tight like a fist, can commit a ‘legitimate’ crime against a woman who has suffered marginalization, mockery, violence and sexual abuse at their hands throughout her life. The tragic figure of Ayoupa is murdered in her physical environment, the fields, by people of all genders and ages who use scythes and forks as weapons, the symbols of their culture and ideology. In this way the villagers eliminate someone they consider not only as carrier of bad luck but also as a general anomaly to their society.69 Conclusively, the film ends with the message that the narrow-mindedness of rural people and their patriarchal structures are extremely hard to change since the former remain deaf to any voice expressing alternatives to what they consider as normal.70 Last but not least, in Father don’t be Naughty the breaking of the context is discussed in a very comic way which allows the director to represent a demolition of stereotypes which relate masculinity and gender relations to locality and age. Urban and rural environments as well as younger and older generations are traditionally opposite axes regarding the ways in which gender is constructed, experienced and represented. The film in question begins by giving the impression that it is going to reinforce this paradigm.71 However, as the story builds up, a different idea comes to the fore; the notion that, in Greece of the mid-1960s, views on gender cannot be easily determined either by locality or by age. Thus, masculinity is represented as plural, changeable and fragmented. Elements that belong to one environment or age level, pass to the other while the advent of modernity reinforces the fluidity between the once antithetical axes. It is important to mention that the plot itself is not the only tool the director uses to build an antithesis between rural and urban in the first part of Father don’t be Naughty. A closer look at the film’s structures reveals that the antithesis is evident in the sound, the framing of the camera and even the language used by the characters. The connection of foreign music with the urban settings and younger generations is apparent in the first scene, to be contrasted shortly after with traditional Greek bouzouki music expressing Papastafidas’ anxiety when he reads a telegram from his son. In this way, tradition, patriarchy and honour


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

are connected to an original Greek superiority over foreign cultural transfers, which lead to a morally inferior lifestyle. This antithesis is also enhanced by the framing of the camera. In one of the first scenes in a nightclub, the frame travels through several young couples dancing, to stop only when the band is in its centre. Here the band becomes a symbol of a new generation’s ‘imported’ lifestyle in the 1960s. Moreover, whenever we have scenes from the village the shots are always external, in the fields of Papastafidas, in contrast to almost all the scenes in Athens which are from internal, mostly domestic shots.72 In this way the film represents the different arenas in which masculinity is tested, debated and constructed in rural and urban environments. In the first it is connected with provision, blue-collar labour and the public sphere, while in the latter it links to domesticity and consumption. In this way the diversities in masculinity are not only a result of differences in settings and environments, but also of differences in the space which provides the domains of masculine competition. However, this dichotomy between rural and urban, traditional and modern, breaks several times thus providing insights into how these two worlds can be seen as poles of interaction. For example, the appearance of imported products such as tractors in the countryside implicitly shows that technological advancement leaves no place untouched. Even the way that rural people are dressed – while often somewhat old-fashioned – is still far from the traditional costumes. In a similar way the language used by the characters in the countryside, despite maintaining some traditional expressions, is still quite close to that of the younger urban generations with the exception of foreign words and idioms. In a sense, even in the first part of the film, the antithesis between rural and urban is not absolutely solid and leaves hints of a negotiation between old and new elements which will become much more explicit in the second and final part of the film. In the second part of the film, which begins with the arrival of Papastafidas in Athens, the middle-aged father becomes the protagonist. After telling off his son and his company, who are terrorized by his powerful presence, Papastafidas decides to stay in Athens for a while to supervise his son’s behaviour. But at this point a reversal of roles begins. In the view of Bendy, the ‘rock of morality’ Papastafidas is being transformed into a sexual hunter. From a strict father he becomes a pawn in Bendy’s hands, as she seeks to use him to finance her first film; Papastafidas simply obeys his sexual instinct. He wants to consider himself as a potent male hunter and thus he will do anything in order to catch his prey.

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


In a sense, the sex-oriented mechanisms of masculinity are actually what link the two antithetical axes: the rural with the urban environment and the younger with the older generation.73 The passion of Papastafidas for Bendy leads him to act like people at his son’s age. The reversal of roles is pivotal: Thomas abandons all bad habits and studies hard in order to graduate from law school while his father acts like a teenage Teddy boy. When he escorts Bendy, the middle-aged Papastafidas abandons the traditional taverns with their bouzouki music for nightclubs with the shake and yianka. His favourite traditional drink, tsipouro gives its place to whisky, his simple clothing changes to smart costumes, even his proud name Antonios Papastafidas changes into the trendy Mr Anthony. But the most characteristic change comes when he shaves off his moustache, the absolute symbol of his masculinity for decades.74 In this way, traditional masculinity becomes fragile, the longstanding symbols and stereotypes of appearance, behaviour and values disappear and thus a rural man is reborn in a modern urban context.75 But Papastafidas soon faces disapproval of his new lifestyle not only from his family but also on the part of an entire traditional cosmos. On his first night out with Bendy, Papastafidas decides to go to a bouzoukia tavern, a traditional place of entertainment for Greeks. While having fun and flirting with Bendy, the band decides to dedicate a song to him. At first he is glad, but when he listens to the lyrics advising him to realize his age and his immature actions, he becomes angry and decides to leave. The next stop for the couple is a modern club with foreign music, where nobody seems to care about his age or the age of his partner. In symbolic terms, the two different styles of entertainment represent two different perspectives on gender relations in Greek society. The first, the world of tradition, disapproves of Papastafidas’ ‘inappropriate’ lifestyle, while the second within the context of modernity, respects, at least initially, his choices.76 However, it is only a matter of time before Papastafidas faces suspicion and mockery even from the members of the modernized world. In general, ‘what the people will say’, considerably influences the behaviour of the main characters of the film in the public and private sphere. In this sense, masculinity, hegemonic or subordinated, traditional or modern, is represented as socially constructed and publicly debated. Through the process of change in Papastafidas’ behaviour it is shown that a modern urban lifestyle is so influential that it has the potential to change anyone, even a middle-aged agriculturist who comes to the city in order to advise and re-moralize his child. Apart from the integration of the rural into the urban lifestyle and the integration of traditional perceptions of masculinity, femininity and gender


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

relations into a modernized context, Father don’t be Naughty contains certain characters who embody the strong persistence of patriarchal tradition. The most typical example is Periklis, Bendy’s brother. For Periklis, the code of honour and shame remains unchanged even in the capital city of Athens. The advent of modernity and the new morality does not seem to touch his way of thinking and acting. His masculinity is still closely related to patriarchal order, making the control of the females under his protection crucial. He is a caricature of a man decidedly liable to commit a crime if he feels that his honour is damaged, especially due to the premarital or extramarital sexual activity of a female kin. Periklis’ wife, Kira-Efterpi, also embodies a character belonging to a patriarchal system: that of a subordinated wife who trembles at the idea of angering her husband. But even among the modern youth of the city, traditional elements and views of gender can be found. For example, in the early stages of the film there is a reference for Bendy’s ex-boyfriend who migrated to Germany because ‘a reasonable and proud lad’ could not stand the idea of her body sexualized on screen.77 Also, despite the crazy parties, the drinking, dancing and clubbing, there is not a single clear case of the explicit expression of sexuality by unmarried young people. On the contrary, even Bendy who did not hesitate to spend a whole night drunk in the room of Thomas, and the next day to appear in front of Papastafidas wearing only a bed-sheet, admits towards the end of the film that she has never let any man to touch her. Conclusively, in this film we can see a representation of Greek society not only as a passive receiver of foreign ideas about masculinity, femininity and gender relations, but also as a melting pot of various mentalities and lifestyles. In this society, various continuities from a long patriarchal tradition continue to shape the behaviours of people of every gender, age, class or origin. A final important point is that each of the films discussed here represents the huge difficulties the protagonists face in order to survive as marginalized figures who try to break traditional contexts. In fact, in all cases, the leading characters face the dilemma of whether they should continue their fight against the system or abandon it together with the society in which they belong. Whatever their final choice, the context remains virtually unchanged and many times urges the protagonists to compromise in order to enjoy the privileges of ‘belonging’ to a group. In these terms, the stereotypical ‘pink and blue’ conceptualization of gender roles, appears at the end of the day either to absorb or to eliminate any variant voices. For example, Mandalena gets engaged to Lambis

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


and abandons her rebellious behaviour along with the role of the ‘provider’ for her family, while Marina leaves Hydra with her future husband, glad to become a housewife. Thus, marriage re-establishes the traditional ‘gender order’ at the end of the films, somehow covering the messages of change and providing an anticipated happy end, through the rescue of female characters by powerful males. The essential role of marriage in personal happiness is also tragically depicted in its absence. For example, in Bed of Grass Ayoupa is shown trying to become a regular girl again. Soon after finding a shelter in the doctor’s house, she puts on a proper dress and shoes and happily undertakes a traditional female role by managing the household, carrying water etc. From a wild and marginal girl she seems eager to change into a tame female who obeys a male head and, thus, she is able to walk among the villages without anyone annoying her. However, the absence of an official engagement with the doctor leaves her virtually unprotected in a hostile environment. Thus, the doctor despite his ‘fairy-tale’ heroic image (handsome, brave, good-hearted, riding a white horse), never manages to become the ‘prince’ who rescues the poor girl. Moreover, the metamorphosis of Ayoupa is also a clear example of the way in which material culture connects to social roles: her clothes become a symbol of her re-feminization and rehabilitation in a patriarchal society. With proper clothing and by living under the protection of a male, she hopes that she will again be accepted as a member of the local society. In this way, all village inhabitants are represented as being caught within a system of values and beliefs which is virtually inescapable. The words of the doctor to Ayoupa: ‘We are all (in this village) tied up with the same thread’, confirm this argument as does the tragic end of the film. In the scene of her murder by the peasants, Ayoupa is shown wearing a proper dress and shoes, symbols of a system that she failed to become a part of, thus heightening the tragedy of her death.

Subordinating hegemonies: Masculinity in crisis As we have seen so far, the contrast between societies which urge men and women into an inescapable struggle to reach the standards of an ideal patriarchy, and leading characters who try to break the limits of this lifestyle form the context in which masculine hierarchies are redefined. In this way, hegemonic


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

and subordinated types of masculinity appear reshaped by the process of negotiation between old and new values, ideas and beliefs related to gender. Leading and secondary male characters move up and down along the thin line of this masculine hierarchy to confirm the fluid, fragmental and agonistic character of hegemony. In A Girl in Black, the fragile nature of hegemonic masculinity becomes a tool in the hands of Cacoyannis in order to increase the melodramatic elements of the film. For this reason, sexuality is represented as the greatest taboo in Hydra’s society which if explored outside wedlock must be confined to absolute secrecy. The extramarital relationship of Marina’s mother with a younger man shows the gap between social and natural restrictions of sexuality. Moreover, the boasting of her lover of his sexual success to his friends, confirms the connection between hegemonic masculinity and ‘sexual scoring’ which is also highlighted in the accounts of social anthropologists.78 In this way, the weakest members of society, such as widows and orphans, become the means for hegemonic masculinity to be measured since the moral codes require men to protect the sexual purity of their related females but at the same time to perform well in the ‘sport’ of sexual scoring.79 However, the sexual objectification of women is not shown as an exclusively rural phenomenon. Perhaps it is the only common element between Christos and Pavlos, the two main representatives of rural and urban masculinity, respectively. Their desire for Marina is more or less of the same type, at least at the beginning of the film, reducing her to the category of a female sexual target. Thus their heterosexual desire is what makes the two men, and their backgrounds, similar: a male hunter, urban or rural is still a male hunter.80 A clearer objectification of the female body as the capstone of hegemonic masculinity in rural environments is apparent in Bed of Grass. Apart from the main story (Ayoupa’s rapes) and the framing of the camera (at least three close-ups of Ayoupa’s body), this argument is supported by the way that men occasionally enjoy themselves.81 When a moving theatre arrives in the village, the audience consists of men only, who watch a sexy oriental dancer performing an erotic belly dance. Thus the dancer becomes the second woman in the film, after Ayoupa, whose body is highly erotized and objectified in the eyes of the villagers.82 The villagers actually express their tendency towards the objectification and sexualization of the female body only when women are outsiders or outcast from their close-knit society. All other women are shown to follow the

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


code of shame, a practice that protects them from falling into the category of potential sexual targets. Moreover, the expression of sexuality is also one of the main differences between the doctor and the other men of the village. While the young rural men express their sexuality in the most aggressive and violent way, the doctor does exactly the opposite. Instead of a hunter, he is presented as Ayoupa’s erotic target; in a very characteristic scene she clearly invites him to her bed, but he silently refuses by pretending to be asleep. Thus it can be argued that masculinity in rural societies was represented as expressed through unrestrained sexual passions, while in the case of people who experienced urban civilization and modern ideologies these passions are fully controlled. Thus, platonic love is shown as the base for more healthy relationships: despite living together there is a clear implication that the doctor and Ayoupa never make love. Also the fact that Ayoupa has virtually none of the traditional elements of a ‘proper female’ such as a good reputation, a respected family and virginity, does not discourage the doctor from accepting her into his poor home. Conclusively, it can also be argued that the doctor is the main character in the film to consciously go against the established system of values. To return to the analysis of A Girl in Black, it is noteworthy that Cacoyannis’ film gives a very strong impression that hegemonic masculinity in rural environments is constructed, experienced and measured within male groups. Christos and Panayis, as the leaders of Hydra’s men, enjoy the respect of the islanders. This gives them the opportunity to pester men who do not belong to any ‘alliances’, such as the two Athenian visitors and Mitsos. A good example of this is the scene when the group of local men attacks Pavlos in the sea, while Mitsos is almost always shown as a solitary figure, suffering various insults from the local fishermen. The connection of hegemonic masculinity in rural environments with the ability to lead a group confirms the anthropological accounts which highlighted the importance of the masculine virtue of egoismos [egoism].83 The hegemony of group leaders is also confirmed by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini which refers to the characters of Christos and Panayis – despite their cruelty – as the only original images of proud rural men [levendes].84 But the male group of which Christos and Panayis are the leaders does not attack only men. Marina, as a poor, unmarried girl, coming from a family with damaged reputation becomes an easy target for the male company. Cacoyannis uses the framing of the camera to concentrate upon Marina’s tragic loneliness.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Especially in the scene of her first appearance in the film the long shot of the camera shows Marina as a small black figure walking alone, speaking to nobody. Even when she leads the two Athenians to her guesthouse, she walks always at the front, alone and speechless while sad music enhances the tragedy of her loneliness. Similarly to A Girl in Black, in Bed of Grass the negative representations of rural masculinity are contrasted by characters that do not belong to the specific micro-society. The positive representation of the old man who finds young Ayoupa abandoned in the fields (whom she simply calls ‘grappa’) and of the doctor are largely attributable to the fact that they do not actually belong to this rural system. They live in its margins out of necessity, without belonging to the male groups in which hegemonies are constructed. The first example, the old man, is always shown as a solitary figure, without a woman or children, without friends or connections to the village. Perhaps the only moment in which he actually becomes a member of the village society is at his funeral. It could be argued that the positive depiction of a lonely old man expresses an implicit message; that the anxiety of people to live according to the rules of patriarchy transforms them into merciless creatures.85 As far as the second type of masculinity which contrasts the harsh Greek society is concerned, the doctor, just like the ‘grappa’, is certainly not a typical member of the rural micro-society. First of all, there is no clear indication that he is a native, so the possibility that he might have urban origins and temporarily live in the countryside is open. Second, he is also a solitary figure, lacking a family which would strengthen his connections to the society. Third, and most important, there is a class difference between the educated scientist with urban experiences (at least from studies) and the illiterate villagers. His masculinity is constructed on a different code of values and ideas. His contact with urban civilization and education has undoubtedly made him a carrier of alternative ideologies, free of superstition, sexism or prejudice. All these experiences are in the background of the figure of the doctor who is the only person to treat Ayoupa like a human being instead of an animal, an object of pleasure or an evil spirit. In these terms the doctor becomes a binary tool in the hands of the director. First, he is deployed to enhance the contrast of modernity with tradition, the urban with the rural and open-mindedness with superstition. Second, the doctor is a proof that carriers of diverse ideologies do exist even in the most distant rural communities. In this way, the villagers’ social and moral

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


system cannot be dismissed as a matter of ignorance of alternative ideologies, rather, it appears to be a matter of collective choice. Despite the tragic end of the story, the doctor remains the ultimate hope for change in the village.86 In Mandalena, we do not have clear examples of subordinated or alternative masculinities but, through the character of Lambis, the film offers a very interesting representation of an ideal pallikari. He is handsome with a well-built body, and he shows respect to his father and all his elders. Quite often the framing of the camera highlights his bodily characteristics which correspond to hegemonic types of masculinity. For example, some shots are taken with the camera at such an angle that Lambis’ height is emphasized. For the same reason he is often presented standing next to shorter men or women. The Greek press also concentrated on the handsome image of Dimitris Papamicahel, who is often described as the charming jeune premier of the Greek cinema. In the advertisements of Mandalena in the popular press, the ways in which male and female bodily beauty became the central poles of attraction for the audience are remarkable.87 Moreover, in the images of the actors in advertisements, an implicit presence of male superiority over the female ‘other’ is evident. The two protagonists appear in an embrace with Dimitris Papamihail putting his arms around Aliki Vouyiouklaki in a way which depicts the male protection of a weak woman of extraordinary beauty.88 Given that the whole film narrates the story of an unruly woman breaking traditional gender stereotypes, its advertisement by a photograph taken from the end of the story, when the patriarchal order is re-established, is something of an oxymoron. However, it allows us to draw certain conclusions regarding the internal mechanisms which shaped the taste of the audience. Obviously, the representation of male dominance was ‘sure bait’ to attract the average cinemagoer in the early 1960s. However, Mandalena offers much more complicated meanings regarding the power relations shaping masculinity and femininity than those expressed through its advertisements. For example, Lambis often becomes furious over Mandalena’s insults, but his masculine code of honour – the code of pallikari – does not allow him to use violence against a woman, something that he would definitely do if he had to deal with a man. In this sense, even if the male is considered superior to the female, a man does not seem to have many options as to how to respond to an unruly woman. Therefore, Mandalena’s behaviour even before her father’s death can be seen as the first defeat of a hegemonic masculinity represented by Lambis, who fails to confront such unnatural behaviours. This temporary defeat subjects Lambis to a masculinity crisis since he cannot relax in the coffee house due to the mockery of other men.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

The character of Lambis is also used to contrast different types of masculinity in relation to various professions: ‘It seems that the air of the sea cleans some of the meanness inside us […] too bad that this does not happen in the case of men living in the shores’ he says publicly in the coffee house. This dialogue provides a positive representation of blue-collar professions as essential for the development of superior male characters. A similar connection of blue-collar labour and hegemonic masculinity in rural environments is one of the initial messages of Father don’t be Naughty. The first scene from Thomas’ village shows his father, Andonis Papastafidas, in his fields sitting on a tractor which becomes a symbol of hard, masculine work, the most important means of fulfilling his duties as a male provider. He also supervises a number of workers, a fact that reinforces his image as a person with authority. However, in this first scene there is also an interesting representation of higher education as an achievement which adds honour to the image of a family. It could be argued that Papastafidas persuasively represented the emotional cosmos of thousands of rural Greeks in the 1950s and 1960s who were proud of sending their children – and especially their sons – to receive higher education. In this way we can speak of an evolution in the relationship of white-collar labour to hegemonic masculinity. 89

‘Primitive’ violence To a greater or lesser extent all films analysed in this chapter relate hegemonic masculinity to the successful use of violence. Leading or secondary male characters are shown using violence as the ultimate means to maintain or upgrade their status in the public and private sphere. What is striking is that violence is always used by men from rural backgrounds, to the effect that violence is represented as a formative element of more traditional types of masculinity. This is not to suggest that in films of this period urban characters are not involved in violent incidents; on the contrary, there are many examples of this kind. It can be argued, however, that in films which maintained a comparative point of view between the two environments, violence was elaborated to highlight their differences in the distribution of power. In these terms, the traditional society of Hydra in A Girl in Black is represented as being less structured on traditional morals and values per se and more on relations of power. Marina and her brother did nothing other than to follow all the social rules, but still they faced the contempt of the islanders.

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


However, both of them are weak and lack social power. Mitsos is a very interesting example of how due to his economic and physical weakness a man may fail to match the standards of hegemonic masculinity. Thus, his masculine status remains in a deep crisis. Given that the descriptions of marginalized men are very rare in the anthropological accounts which disregarded the plurality and complexity of masculinity, Mitsos’ character offers a unique chance to analyse less hegemonic models of being male. In one of the most intense scenes of the film, Mitsos is informed of his mother’s affair. The close-up of the camera on his face unveils his tragic anxiety and anger when he realizes his ultimate failure as a man to control the sexuality of his female kin. He is subsequently shown to assault his mother as soon as he sees her coming back from a meeting with her lover. Here, Mitsos becomes a tragic figure who tries to punish the person who embarrasses his status as a male. What is even more tragic is that the surrounding society stands still to watch this punishment as if it was something natural: a female has shown no ‘sexual shame’ and a male master punishes her. The crowd makes a circle around the tragic family to watch the scene with remarkable stillness, giving the impression that implicit voyeuristic sadism exists in rural societies.90 In this scene, a rigid dichotomy between the public and the private sphere is also apparent. The crowd surrounds the family without really interfering to show that the private sphere, even in moments of violence and in public view, remains private with the male head imposing his will. After punishing his mother, Mitsos proceeds with another violent action: to ‘clean his name’ by killing the male responsible for his humiliation. His failure

Mitsos learns about his mother’s affair (A Girl in Black, 1956)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Mitsos beats up his mother (A Girl in Black, 1956)

though to kill Panayis, a stronger man, is an extra blow to his masculine status, something that shows clearly the connection of hegemonic masculinity with muscularity and physical power. When Mitsos fails to kill Panayis, he confronts his ultimate failure as a pallikari: to successfully use violence against people who insulted the honour of his family.91 Similarly to the scene when he beats up his mother, his effort to kill Panayis is watched by the locals. Yet, in this scene he is being watched by men only, something that lends a ritualistic, men-only character to the violent effort for rehabilitation of honour. In Bed of Grass violence is one of the central parts of the plot.92 The centrality of violence can be attributed to the fact that it is evident in the most important dimensions of rural life: the private sphere (Ayoupa’s beatings in her foster family) and the public sphere (rapes and murders). In this way, the use of violence is not only a means of defending honour and prestige for members of the agrarian society, it is also essential for their physical survival. Thus, it is not strange that in the end of the film the least physically strong characters (Ayoupa and Yioryis) are dead. Inevitably, this creates an impression that in traditional social structures masculinity, muscularity and physical survival are mutually connected. In these terms, Bed of Grass describes Greek rural societies as human jungles where the stronger individual imposes his will, in contrast to a democratic community. Given the international success of Bed of Grass, it was not surprising that the exaggerated violence was considered controversial in the Greek and foreign press. In some cases, despite recognizing a fine direction and photography, even foreign critics expressed their scepticism about the ‘violent’ storyline.93 However, a reviewer, referring to the fact that the violent plot was based on a

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


true story, noted: ‘The story is said to be true. If so, said a Philhellene friend, the peasants must be Bulgarians’.94 This short story shows very vividly how a film can be received by an audience who believes that the representation of a country has an impact on its national prestige. In this way, it becomes clear that cinema, especially during the period in question, was a very powerful medium which interacted with the audience as a negotiator of their identity. Thus, films of this kind should not be analysed merely as autonomous cultural artefacts but also in their social dimension. As the reviewer in question concludes: ‘This may or may not tell us much about Bulgarians but it does tell us something about Philhellenes’.95 Even in more comic storylines violence is often used by rural characters. In Mandalena and Father don’t be Naughty the use of violence within families implies their inner hierarchies. In the first film, this is apparent in the scene when Lambis slaps his sister during an argument, only to accept a similar punishment by his father shortly after. In the second film, Papastafidas repeatedly slaps Thomas whenever he disagrees with ‘paternal authority’. He is also proud to boast of his ability and right to use violence before Bendy. But the clearest connection of violence with hegemonic masculinity comes towards the end of Father don’t be Naughty when Papastafidas considers as his ‘manly duty’ to start a fight against a company of five or six youngsters who insult him in the presence of his young fiancée. In this way, even in urban settings physical power is represented as an essential element of hegemonic masculinity since it facilitates the use of violence whenever a man’s honour is questioned. Moreover, it can also be seen as a continuity of a traditional way of shaping gender identities and hierarchies in modern contexts.

Rethinking masculinity and locality Despite being built on an antithetical axis between ‘backward rural’ and ‘modern urban’ the connection of masculinity with locality in Greek popular films implies a complex reconstruction of gender relations in a period of intense social, political and economic change. If we take a look at the four main films analysed in this chapter from a broader perspective, we can better understand the similarities and the differences in the representations of rural and urban environments in different genres, years of production, companies, directors, actors, storylines, as well as the reasons why they had a controversial reception


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

in Greece and abroad. In this way, the binary nature of the films as sources – as both cultural artefacts and commercial products – is respected, allowing us to put forward certain hypotheses regarding their relationship with the sociohistorical context of the 1950s and 1960s. If we consider these films in terms of the years of their production it becomes clear that the two films produced in the mid-1950s, A Girl in Black (1956) and Bed of Grass (1957) depicted the countryside quite stereotypically, as a ‘backward’ environment. Mandalena (1960), which chronologically stands in the middle of the period under investigation, tends to bridge this antithesis by symbolically expressing a hint of change through the advent of technology and material culture. By the time we reach the late 1960s with Father don’t be Naughty (1967), the urban and the rural environment start interacting and exchanging ideas about masculinity, gender relations, morality and consumerism. This change in the depiction of the city and the countryside in relation to gender and modernity can be seen in parallel with the social changes which massively altered the character of the country until the late 1960s. It can be argued that as market products, these films aimed to increase their popularity by providing audiences with environments, characters and stories with which they were familiar. For this reason they changed along with the society during the period under investigation.96 In general terms, the countryside is represented as a place where hegemonic masculinity is constructed within male groups and is measured through the victimization of the weak, both men and women. All the narratives highlight that the absence of a potent male head in a rural family leaves its members unprotected, open to assaults from other males, whose masculinity is not challenged but honoured by this demonstration of social and physical power. In addition to this, the surrounding societies do not appear to protect but to marginalize their weakest members who fail to match the standards of patriarchy. Another common axis in these films is the representation of urban values, ideas and beliefs as superior to the rural. However, this antithesis is evident only when films aim to make a comparison between the two environments. When, for example, the urban lifestyle and modernity are in the centre of the plot of dramas, the city is represented also as being ‘primitive’ and cruel.97 In these terms, it could be fairly argued that the superiority of the urban ideology demonstrated that, despite its drawbacks, the future of Greek society should be towards a more modernized-westernized lifestyle and not a return to traditional ways of thinking.

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


Nevertheless, whenever we have a clash or a meeting between the two worlds, the prevalence of the one over the other depends largely on where the narrative indicates that the main characters will continue their lives. For example, in the end of Mandalena and Bed of Grass, the patriarchal order is re-established and the whole way of thinking of the peasants remains virtually unchanged. On the contrary, in Father don’t be Naughty and A Girl in Black, modernity in terms of advanced consumerism, technological advancement and weakening of the code of honour and shame eventually reaches those individuals who dare to leave the countryside for the big urban centres.98 Thus, we could hypothesize that through this positive depiction of urban reality the cinema encouraged the tremendous waves of internal migration during the 1960s. It is possible to attribute the tendency of the filmmakers to reproduce stereotypes to the necessity to increase the sales of their products. The wide popularity of these films, which provided audiences with images and meanings that they more or less expected, reinforces this argument. In these terms, the ‘demonization’ of the rural world contrasted by an idealized urban culture may have worked as a means to encourage people to abandon a traditional way of living for a more modernized urban lifestyle. Given the extreme popularity of the cinema during the period under question, it could be assumed that films of this kind represented, encouraged and to an extent, forecasted social change. Moreover, this partial ‘exoticization’ of Greece, enjoyed a very warm reception in the foreign press whenever films managed to go abroad. In fact, the reception of Greece as ‘exotic’ was so strong that the beginning of a peculiar ‘self-exoticization’ process, with the Greeks defining themselves according to their filmic representations, did not seem at all improbable. As Kirou critically argued: Greece, with the incredible photogenic wildness of its people, is re-presented as a country which knows only how to scream and dance. This fake picture is repeated so often that eventually everybody, even the Greeks believe it! This is such a terrible lie […]. In this way folklore becomes exoticism and its buyers watch only a humiliation of our customs and culture.99

Conclusively, it could be argued that the depiction of a primitive Mediterranean culture was an attractive theme for foreigners in the technologically, culturally and morally modernized West. In contrast, Greek critics published some quite negative reviews of these films, trying to discourage future negative representations of their country. Perhaps the fact that most of the international film


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

successes, with this subject, came from directors that were not ‘all’ Greek, such as Michael Cacoyannis, a Greek Cypriot, and Greg Tallas, a Greek-American, is not a coincidence. One explanation could be that given by the Greek critics: these directors had inadequate knowledge of Greek society and for this reason their films were simply a dishonouring forgery of the countryside. But from another point of view, the fact that the directors in question spent many years abroad and aimed to attract foreign audiences possibly emancipated them from an essentially idealistic depiction of Greek society. Thus, they transferred it on screen exactly as they saw it, or, they overemphasized its traditional aspect in order to make their films more ‘exotic’ and attractive to foreign audiences. In a sense, this ‘overemphasis’ could be analysed as the most explicit similarity between the films and the anthropological accounts which describe rural communities. Despite representing rural Greece with a completely different analytical focus, method and tools, both anthropologists and filmmakers chose to describe distant villages and islands where the advent of modernity was least evident. For this reason, the representations of anthropologists and directors should not be generalized to describe the construction of gender identities in the whole of the countryside or in all rural communities. However, they can provide insights into the elements of tradition which persisted to shape masculinity and gender relations in Greece even after the invasion of foreign ideologies. Moreover, filmmakers quite often expressed the breaking of stereotypes regarding locality. Even in the most ‘exotic’ representations of the countryside and in the most modernized depictions of urban environments there are characters or scenes which show or imply the interaction between the two environments. In this way, apart from a simplistic persistence or demolition of traditional stereotypes, popular film productions expressed the idea of an open dialogue between tradition and modernity as the new platform on which masculinity and gender relations were renegotiated during the 1950s and 1960s.

Notes   1 For the underrepresentation of the countryside in popular film productions of this period see also Chapter 2.   2 Details of the four main films analysed in Chapter 3 can be found in the Appendix.

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


  3 This gendered dichotomy in space is shown to be symbolically legitimated by the Christian Orthodox religion on two occasions. First, men and women are shown to stand separately in the church during an afternoon service and second, the priest of the church is shown relaxing only in the coffee house, a traditional male domain in which women do not enter.   4 For coffee houses see Chapter 1.   5 The most flexible male authority in terms of gender equality is the priest, Papa-Fotis, the only man who shows some understanding towards Mandalena’s beliefs. Thus, he tries to persuade the villagers to support the young woman who, through no choice of her own, was forced to become a ‘father’ to her family. Yet the priest’s efforts to help Mandalena seem more like a personal choice rather than a choice inspired by the official policy of the Church. The Greek Orthodox dogma, explicitly or implicitly, supports gender inequality, separate spheres and the patriarchal structure of the family. This becomes quite obvious in all the conversations of Papa-Fotis with Mandalena, and especially during her engagement ceremony with Yiakoumis, a man she does not love, when he asks her repeatedly: ‘Mandalena do you accept Yiakoumis to be your husband and master?’   6 Until the late 1950s official authorities in Greek films are always represented as male-dominated. The same is true for any administrative posts in labour. This could be seen more or less as a ‘realistic’ representation. However, this changes in the 1960s. While in the background of the majority of Greek films the male dominance in labour and social power is the rule, from the early 1960s leading female characters begin to appear in prestigious posts. See, for example, I Kiria Dimarchos [Mrs Mayor], 1960; Despoinis Diefthindis [Miss Director], 1964; I Vouleftina [A Woman in the Parliament], 1966. For Miss Director see also Chapter 5.   7 For how gender is discussed in the accounts of social anthropologists see Chapter 1.   8 The antithetical axis of rural-urban, modern-traditional is also represented through the children. In a characteristic comic scene of A Girl in Black a group of skinny, raggedly dressed, barefoot children mock a fat city boy and his equally fat mother when they hear her telling him off for swimming in the sea. The fat bodies of the urban mother and son implicitly represent the different food culture and amenities of an urban lifestyle.   9 See also Chapter 1 for details on social change in the 1960s and the birth of rebellious youth cultures. 10 For Law 4000 see Chapter 1. 11 The best-known comedian who repeatedly played the role of a naïve villager entering urban settings is Kostas Hadjichristos. In numerous films Hadjichristos played a very popular character, Thimios, a Vlach villager whose naivety leads him


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

to funny adventures in Athens. Examples of these films include O Thimios ta Ekane Thalassa [Thimios Messed It Up], 1959; O Kazanovas [The Casanova], 1963; O Thimios sti Hora tou Striptease [Thimios in the Land of Striptease], 1963; O Thimios ta’hei 400 [Thimios is a Clever Man], 1960. 12 See also Chapter 1. Lambros Konstandaras, in one of his interviews in Romantso, one of the most popular magazines in the 1960s, mentioned ‘The Greek people in the post-war years seek entertainment just like they seek bread’ (Romantso 23.08.1960). 13 A very brief but positive review of Father don’t be Naughty appeared in Avyi (11.4.1967). It read as follows: ‘Enjoyable, funny and smart comedy by Kostas Karayiannis with careful direction and an excellent performance by Lambros Konstandaras’. Other newspapers like Ethnos (11.4.1967) referred simply to its title, genre, language and details of when and where it was being screened. 14 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 48). 15 For Bed of Grass see Vradini (28.01.1957); Athinaiki (29.01.1957); Apoyevmatini (28.01.1957); Akropolis (29.01.1957). 16 Time (07.10.1956). 17 Monthly Film Bulletin (January 1957). 18 Films in Review (October 1957). 19 ‘It is just possibly the best full length, talking picture ever made for $60,000’ (Time 07.10.1956). 20 Ethnos (20.3.1956); Kathimerini (21.3.1956). 21 Films in Review (October 1957). 22 Eleftheria (26.10.1960). 23 Ibid. In Ethnos (25.10.1960) the film is characterised as ‘the best of its kind’. 24 Vima (25.10.1960); Eleftheria (26.10.1960). 25 Athinaiki (25.10.1960). 26 Kinimatografikos Astir (30.01.1957). 27 Avyi (30.01.1957). 28 Apoyevmatini (28.01.1957). 29 Akropolis (29.01.1957). 30 This detail is mentioned in Telegraph-Journal (08.02.1960). 31 Epitheorisi Technis (June 1956). For the same reasons newspaper Avyi (21.03.1956) characterized the film as technically perfect but psychologically a failure. 32 Elitist Athenian neighbourhood in the 1960s. 33 Epitheorisi Technis (June 1956). 34 Avyi (21.03.1956). 35 Apoyevmatini (21.03.1956). 36 ‘…it would be much better for Greek cinema if Mr Cacoyannis who is an excellent director, decided not to write a script ever again… Hydrians are so much not like

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


real Hydrians’ (Eleftheria 21.3.1956). Along the same lines, the newspaper Ethnos (20.3.1956) compares A Girl in Black with the film of Nikos Koundouros O Drakos [The Ogre of Athens], 1956: ‘Similar to the way we viewed the film by Koundouros, Mr Cacoyannis here counterfeited the Greek reality. There is no Greek island in which what this film shows could actually happen and this is due to the director’s insufficient knowledge of Greek morals and customs’.   Cacoyannis’ ‘inadequate knowledge’ of Greek reality is also highlighted in Vima (20.03.1956). 37 ‘In this way, the characters of the film remain aesthetically incomplete either because the director is still professionally immature or possibly because the characteristics he presents are so fake that they will never manage to become art’ (Avyi 21.3.1956). 38 Ibid. 39 Sight and Sound (November 1956). 40 Monthly Film Bulletin (January 1957). Along the same lines, Films in Review (October 1957) characteristically argued: ‘This time Cacoyannis’ script is wholly realistic, often poignantly dramatic and always engrossing’ while Saturday Review (05.10.1957) mentioned: ‘Cacoyannis catches to perfection the special distillation of meanness and pettiness which seems to be so much a part of island living’. Also Time (07.10.1957) stated: ‘The main point director Cacoyannis makes is that ‘respectable people’ in Greece are still locked in the closet of 19th century manners and morals, and he seems to think it is high time they broke out’. 41 Reviews characterizing A Girl in Black as a Greek tragedy can be found in: Spectator (07.12.1956); Observer (02.12.1956); Times (03.12.1956). The film was reviewed very warmly by a range of other newspapers and magazines such as: Daily News (30.11.1956); Daily Mail (30.11.1956); Daily Worker (01.12.1956); Evening News (29.11.1956); New Statesman (01.12.1956); Sunday Dispatch (02.12.1956); Sunday Times (02.12.1956); News Chronicle (30.11.1956); Financial Times (03.12.1956); Evening Standard (29.11.1956); Manchester Guardian (01.12.1957); Time n’ Tide (08.12.1956). Cacoyannis also admitted that his films eventually take the shape of modernized tragedies even though this was never his objective. On this issue see his interview to Kinimatografos-Theatro (April 1960). 42 Georgakas (2005: 24). 43 ‘Ayoupa was filmed in the Greek countryside near the Topolia village of Kopais, Beotia. It is full of realism and poetry, its characters unique in their vividness. In one scene about 1,000 extras, peasants of the nearby villages were used’ (Films and Filming May 1957). 44 Spectator (12.2.1960). 45 BFI (1).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

46 Eleftheriotis (1995: 238). 47 For crimes committed on the basis of honour in Greece from 1949 onwards see Avdela (2002). For the vendettas between families after the insult of honour see Allen (1993: 136). 48 See also Chapter 1. 49 The influence of Italian neorealism in this scene is very obvious. The newspaper Avyi (21.03.1956) argued ironically that ‘Marina’s crying left behind it any previous Italian performance’. 50 Ethnos (20.3.1956); Kathimerini (21.3.1956). 51 See Chapter 1. 52 Evening Standard (29.11.1956). 53 The compilation of characteristics belonging to two completely different genres was commented quite positively in the film journal Theamata (31.10.1960). 54 For female ‘muteness’ in rural environments see Chapter 1. 55 ‘In the end Marina decides to live and she comes bursting out of her doll’s house with all the thump and golly of an old-fashioned, wear-the-pants, want-the-vote feminist’ (Time 07.10.1957). 56 The name of the village is also omitted in Bed of Grass. 57 For more information on the bodily and mental characteristics of pallikari see Chapter 1. 58 Eleftheria (26.10.1960). At least until the early 1960s Aliki Vouyiouklaki played mainly innocent feminine characters who would never engage in a conflict with existing social structures i.e. Astero, 1958; To Xilo Vyike apo ton Paradeiso [Spanking Started in Heaven], 1959; To Klotsoskoufi [The Dummy], 1960; I Aliki sto Naftiko [Aliki in the Navy], 1961; Ktipokardia sto Thranio [School Love], 1963. The next film to show her again in a dynamic role is I Kori mou Sosialistria [My Socialist Daughter], 1966. 59 Kinimatografikos Astir (30.10.1960). 60 Ethnos (25.10.1960). 61 According to Papadimitriou (2006: 124), Aliki Vouyiouklaki was often compared to Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot due to her childish manner and apparently naïve sexuality in most roles she played. For more details on Vouyiouklaki’s stardom and its gender connotations see ibid., pp. 123–34. For Dimopoulos’ framing style and close-up shots in Mandalena see Thanouli (2012: 232–3). 62 Vima (25.10.1960). 63 This can be seen in parallel with the fact that until the late 1970s, the vast majority of women used to abandon paid labour after marriage (see Chapter 1). 64 Theamata (23.08.1961). This incident is briefly mentioned also in Stassinopoulou (2000a: 108).

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


65 See also Chapter 2. 66 Theamata (15.03.1961). 67 In the scenes when Ayoupa is chased the music tremendously enhances the anxiety of the viewer. 68 The director depicts the village in support of the male rapist of an unprotected woman in truly challenging terms. As a villager says to the doctor: ‘The village considers Ayoupa responsible for all our misfortunes: the dry wells, the poor crop, the animals that stopped reproducing, but most importantly for the death of Yioryis’. Another villager, referring to Yioryis says: ‘It was so unfair that such a good lad died’. Very similar depictions of superstition can be found in the film I Kira mas i Mammi [Our Midwife], 1958. 69 Greg Tallas is not the only Greek director who dared to show such criminal behaviour taking place in rural Greece. Eight years later, Michalis Cacoyannis in Zorba the Greek, 1964 was to depict a very similar event, the public slaughter of a widow who was considered responsible for the suicide of a young villager. Both films were strongly criticized by the Greek press for their negative depiction of the Greek countryside. 70 The absence of any formal authorities in the film – political, judicial and clerical – or of security bodies, left the unwritten rules of the code of honour and shame as the sole arbiters of social control. Thus, the characters can even perform a murder without suffering any consequences, if the motives are excused by this code of values. 71 Some examples of films showing a strong antithesis of the village with the city are: To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956; O Thimios ta Ekane Thalassa [Thimios Messed it up], 1959; O Mitros kai o Mitrousis stin Athina [Mitros and Mitrousis in Athens], 1960. 72 For the same reason external shots are very frequent in all films which are set in rural environments. 73 In the scene when Papastafidas meets Bendy, the sexual objectification of the female body is remarkable. Bendy wakes up with a hangover and appears wearing only a bed sheet to cover her beautiful young body. The gaze of the viewer, the gaze of the camera and the gaze of Papastafidas are attracted by her beauty and ‘innocence’ which are enough to make the middle-aged protagonist dedicate all his energy to conquering her. This can be characterized as a kind of ideal type scene in Greek cinema and pop-culture when the female body is used to attract the male gaze. See also the advertisements of Greek films during the 1960s in Chapter 2. 74 The shaving of the moustache as a signifier of the prevalence of modernity over tradition is also evident in other popular films such as: Oi Thalassies oi Handres [Blue Beads], 1967; O Bambas Ekpaidevetai [Educating my Dad], 1953. Other





78 79


81 82 83 84 85

Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

films in which the moustache is used as a symbol of traditional masculinity and patriarchy are: Ta Kitrina Gandia [The Yellow Gloves], 1960; Makrikosteoi kai Kontoyioryides [Vendetta], 1960; O kir Yioryis Ekpaidevetai [Educating Mr Yioryis], 1977. Lambros Konstantaras, who played Andonis Papastafidas, was one the most popular comedians in Greek cinema. He often embodied the role of mature men who do not easily accept the social stereotypes regarding their age. This depiction of middle-age crisis in comedies during the 1960s could be seen as a signifier of a crisis in traditional types of masculinity caused by the advent of modernity. While new ideas regarding gender seem to allow men to behave like teenagers, very frequently the former ultimately come to recognize their inability to follow a modern lifestyle. See also Iie mou Iie mou [My Dear Son], 1965; Kati Kourasmena Pallikaria [Tired Lads], 1967. The ways in which different types of music, entertainment and consumer cultures were shown in films to highlight the contrast of modernity with tradition is discussed thoroughly in Chapter 2. It is common for films that discuss the lifestyles of young people, to present a character who expresses the persistence of traditional views about gender, sexuality, morality and consumerism. In this way, the films of this period managed to present a range of characters with which the audience could identify and also to express the complex ways in which modernity integrates with patriarchal traditions. See Chapter 1. In a far more comic way this idea of women’s ‘sexual availability’ in the lack of male protection appears in Father don’t be Naughty when Thomas accuses his father of attempting to seduce a widow in their village. In these terms, it is not strange that in the beginning of the film Christos tries in vain to gain the sympathy of the two friends from Athens. He feels that their presence may threaten his dominance over his company on the island since they belong in the top category of young, independent and physically strong males. Thus, a potential ‘friendship’, alliance or at least toleration between them can secure the interests of both groups. Due to these erotic scenes Bed of Grass was classified as not suitable for people under the age of 18 (Estia 28.01.1957). We could hypothesize that the two women are also objectified in the eyes of the audience since the director uses close-ups of their bodies at several points. Herzfeld (1985: 11). Kathimerini (21.03.1956). This message is evident in a scene when little Ayoupa captures a bird. ‘Birds should be free to fly little Ayoupa’, the grappa said. ‘Would you be happy if someone had

Masculinity and Locality: Rural vs Urban Gender Identities


tied up your legs and put you in a cage?’ Rural society is pretty much presented as a cage inside which people are captive. The same ‘cage’ notion appears in A Girl in Black when Marina cries near the closed window of her house while Pavlos waits for her outside. 86 A third character who appears for very few minutes in the film but expresses his disapproval of the superstitions of the villagers against Ayoupa is the schoolteacher. In this way, the antithesis between educated male characters who contrast the illiterate context becomes more extensive. 87 For these advertisements see Akropolis (22.10.1960; 21.10.1960); Avyi (23.10.1960); Kathimerini (21.10.1960). 88 Akropolis (22.10.1960). 89 Apart from Papastafidas, other rural characters in secondary roles like his sister admit that they have also sent a son to study in Athens. This represents the great popularity of higher education among rural population. See also Chapter 1. 90 The stillness of the crowd in moments of violence against people who have broken moral codes is also present in other films by Cacoyannis i.e. Zorba the Greek, 1964 (murder of the widow). By showing this social tolerance towards violence the director renders the negative depiction of the countryside holistic. For this reason, he was often criticized by the press for involving the entire cast in unnecessary representations of sadistic behaviour. According to Kathimerini (21.03.1956) the scenes of the son beating his mother and the drowning of the children reduced the artistic quality of the film. 91 For more on the mental and physical characteristics of the pallikari see Chapter 1. 92 The director declares the centrality of violence in the text which prologues his film. 93 ‘The setting is grim and realistic but the story both ugly and naïve’ (Daily Worker 06.02.1957).    ‘The villagers themselves are summarily dismissed as an animal pack, in the film’s one big weakness. Surely it takes all kinds, even in Greece’ (New York Times 28.12.1957). 94 Telegraph (08.02.1960). 95 Ibid. 96 In general, the genre of comedy affords filmmakers an opportunity to integrate elements of modernity in rural environments much more easily and explicitly than in dramas. It can be argued that in these cases cinema forecasted social change and the advent of modernity in the countryside. A comedy which clearly shows a remarkably modernized rural environment is I Kira mas i Mammi [Our Midwife], 1958. In this film, set in a distant mountain village, young men and women are shown wearing modern outfits, going for excursions without their parents, flirting, listening to foreign music and dancing the Shake in parties, and young unmarried


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

girls consort with boys on the beach wearing sexy bikinis while the older generations maintain a stereotypical backwardness. 97 Films which depict the cruel aspect of urban life are analysed in Chapters 4 and 5. 98 A film which goes against this argument is I Kira mas i Mammi [Our Midwife], 1958. 99 Ellinikos Kinimatografos (March 1967).


Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class

Aiming to provide more insights into the socio-historical interpretation of popular cinema, the following chapter focuses on how popular films represented masculinity and gender in relation to class identities, which during the turbulent years under investigation were in a state of reformation. Special attention is given to the representation of the transition from one class to another, the relationship of class with tradition and modernity, the renegotiation of hegemony through class transition and finally the issue of ‘masculinity crisis’. The discussion around these axes is largely informed by the close reading of the following films: Mia Zoi tin Ehoume [We Live Only Once], 1958, Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream], 1961, O Krahtis [The Leader], 1964, and Prosopo me Prosopo [Face to Face], 1966.1

Idealizing the working-classes, demonizing the upper classes One of the most explicit common points of the four films analysed here is their tendency to represent the lower strata of Greek society positively and to contrast this with a negative representation of the higher strata. Inevitably this somewhat biased class contrast gives the impression of a ‘representation from below’ in the Greek popular cinema productions of the 1950s and 1960s. Thus the working-class often acquires a ‘heroic’ profile as the social group trying to resist the ‘amorality’ of a modernized urban way of living which is connected to the lifestyle of elites. In many cases the idealized representation of characters coming from the working-class carries a feeling of nostalgia for traditional types of masculinity which became subordinated to hegemonic models originating from abroad. In these terms, the dichotomy between upper and lower classes is


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

mutually connected to the contrast between tradition and modernity. However, both initial dichotomies weaken as the main storylines evolve. Eventually, the films promote a message of negotiation between the two class poles and reveal their common points i.e. their problematic attitude towards masculinity which leads or maintains men in a state of gender crisis. Through their efforts directed towards class transition the protagonists become the core of the interaction between class, modernity and tradition revealing interesting ‘grey points’ in their relation. Thus the initial ‘black and white’ representation becomes more complicated. In The Leader the lifestyle of the working-classes is depicted in contrast to the lifestyle of the upper classes with Tassos being the main representative of the first and Yioula of the latter. The poor neighbourhood becomes an arena – in both social and spatial terms – in which masculinity is constructed, negotiated, fragmented and measured. The working-classes are represented as maintaining patriarchal models and traditional masculinity which connects to provision and the principles of the moral code of honour and shame. In these terms, the local factory which produces iron bars does not offer merely a job to the men of the neighbourhood but also the means to prove themselves as successful providers.2 In a sense, blue-collar labour becomes the symbol of working-class masculinity. Similarly, Face to Face also expresses a strong association between blue-collar labour and working-class masculinity by showing photograph-like short scenes from the everyday routine of Greek workers.3 The importance of blue-collar labour in the construction of hegemonic models of masculinity is also evident in Neighbourhood the Dream but in a rather antithetical way: through its very absence. In this film the director highlights the importance of the factory for the local community by setting it as a background in the first scene. However, in The Leader the factory is an active agent, a domain where working-class masculinity is celebrated, whereas in Neighbourhood the Dream, the abandoned factory becomes the context of a series of male failures. In these terms we could speak of a very interesting ‘nostalgic’ view on issues of gender since this connection of blue-collar labour with hegemonic masculinity comes in a period when whitecollar labour was considered much more prestigious and honourable for men than any other walk of life.4 Thus we could contextualize the filmic image of Yiorgos Foundas [Tassos] in The Leader within a broader representation of a working-class macho-masculinity in Greek cinema. This image is also expressed through the framing of the camera. In many scenes during the first, ‘heroic’ part of the film, the camera

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


repeatedly shows Tassos semi-dressed and focuses on his muscular body, implying that it has been achieved through hard blue-collar labour. In this way, Tassos’ body becomes a signifier of meaning, a vehicle which connects masculinity with provision and patriarchal responsibility. Male bodies very rarely became the object of the camera’s ‘gaze’ during the 1950s and 1960s, a period which focused rather on the female body as highly objectified and eroticized not only in films but also in other forms of popular culture.5 Moreover, Tassos’ leading role among the workers is built upon his heroic image as the person who saved the factory from an explosion during World War II. Thus, Tassos has become a living legend, a potent leader who has saved the working place of working-class men while protecting his country against foreign intruders.6 In this way the working-classes are also credited with the virtues of patriotism and fighting spirit which are subtly absent from the image of their social ‘superiors’. These virtues are also evident in Face to Face despite the absence of an explicit ‘male hero’. Dimitris, the leading male character, is an English teacher who lacks most of the virtues which constructed the hegemonic macho image of Tassos in The Leader. He is presented as a modest, shy and isolated white-collar worker who tries to make a modest living in the modernized city of Athens. Nevertheless, in scenes behind the main story set in the house of a wealthy Athenian family, the fighting spirit of thousands of demonstrators with centre-left political beliefs is highlighted. Furthermore, by the end of the film, the shy English teacher acquires an alternative heroic profile by turning his back on the wealth and easy life of the elites. This is an action of which the idealized World War II hero in The Leader proves incapable of. Perhaps this absence of exaggerated heroes was what made Face to Face very persuasive in its narration and ability to evoke the enthusiasm of younger audience members during its screening in Thessaloniki Film Festival.7 Eliciting such enthusiasm seems to have been the basic purpose of Roviros Manthoulis, the director, as he admitted in an interview in the newspaper Ethnos, shortly after the first release of the film.8 However, Manthoulis’ prediction that his film would enjoy great popularity was not borne out in reality. The average popularity of this artistically excellent and well-advertised production could be attributed to the fact that the average cinemagoer in Greece during the mid-1960s was insufficiently mature to appreciate complex meanings, instead preferring low-quality dramas and comedies which reproduced already popular storylines. Like other high-quality directors, Roviros Manthoulis did not rely solely on language as a signifier of meaning. He also elaborated more complex means


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

such as the characters’ gaze, silence, fleeting mixtures of antithetical scenes and symbolisms, fusions of illusion, dream and reality with which mass audiences were unfamiliar. Nevertheless, for a high-quality, high art film Face to Face was a commercial success, since it managed to sell almost 90,000 tickets, an outstanding number for a film of its kind. Its relevantly high popularity triggered new discussions among critics regarding the audience’s taste.9 It is also worth mentioning that to maintain the originality of his film without being obliged to alter its content according to the preferences of producers, Roviros Manthoulis sought the necessary funds in an innovative way. Instead of collaborating with a production company, he split the estimated cost of the film in shares, which were bought by more than 300 investors. In this way he maintained an absolute intellectual independence, a position which would have been a chimera in a standard production process.10 Another argument is that the representation of the working-class moral superiority in the four films is effected through a balanced antithetical emphasis. On the one hand, the films focus on the virtues and honourable nature of a working-class lifestyle and, on the other hand, on the amorality and vanity of the upper classes. This antithesis is built upon images regarding both masculinity and femininity. For example, in The Leader, Tassos contrasts the lifestyle of the male elites who are represented as lazy, amoral and somewhat effeminate, while Yioula contrasts with the moral code of the women in the poor neighbourhood. Her lifestyle includes living in a huge house, driving expensive cars, smoking, drinking and being sexually emancipated. In other words, she lives in a totally different reality to that of the poor girls who work all day long, hoping one day to get married and create a family. Moreover, this contrast becomes more intense in terms of ethics. Yioula is still married but she dates various men, pretending to be a widow, while her husband, a drug addict like herself, lives in an isolated house. In this way, despite being extremely obvious in the outset, the antithesis between upper and working-classes becomes less accentuated in terms of life quality; a high class lifestyle is represented as just as miserable as that of working people. The problematic nature of the former becomes synonymous with a modernity which is commonly represented in the four films as something that the leading working-class characters are both unaware of and eager to explore. While this exploration in The Leader, Face to Face and We Only Live Once is held by male characters, Neighbourhood the Dream offers a very interesting representation of a working-class woman who manages, even temporarily, to

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


experience the world of elites. Stefania’s dreams for a better future, according to the modern, Western stereotypes lead her to a relationship with Lakis, a young upper class man. But Lakis and his company, despite contrasting the people of the neighbourhood with their stylish outfits, sport cars and luxurious houses, fail to match the standards of traditional masculinity to which working-class women are accustomed. Thus, instead of finding a ‘modern prince’ who could save her from poverty, Stefania enters into a relationship with a man who has no feelings for her, plays with her hopes, treats her like a sexual object and in the end abandons her. In this sense, the masculinity of the upper classes is represented as every bit as problematic as in the lower classes. Rich men cannot become adequate providers and husbands for young women but remain consumers of parental fortunes. For them, Stefania is nothing but an object of pleasure, a weak female who can be easily taken advantage of. This objectification becomes apparent even by the way they speak about her: ‘This (Stefania) is a really pretty piece. Where did you buy it?’ a friend asks Lakis who is proud to show off his ‘sexual prey’. In another scene, the same young man who asked the question attempts to rape her, highlighting the ethical primitiveness of this company. In contrast, despite approaching Stefania sexually, the young men in the poor neighbourhood never insult or attack her. This indicates that despite their poverty and illiteracy, they have honour which restrains their sexual instincts. Keeping in mind the mass-medium character of the Greek cinema during the period under investigation it could be fairly hypothesized that the idealization of the lower classes was elaborated by the filmmakers in order to attract the average cinemagoer. In a period of intense social change, films with such content intensified the identification process of the audience, the largest part of which was struggling to cope with the advent of new moral and material cultures. For this reason the main social-political messages of each film both increased their popularity and at the same time raised controversial discussions in the press. Even films which fell into the category of ‘low-quality, mass production-mass consumption’ products gained a place in the columns of major newspapers and film journals. For example, the film journal Kinimatografikos Astir, mentions that The Leader has a very interesting plot which will attract people from all classes; the wide popularity of the film confirmed this prediction.11 The considerable popularity of the film, however, went against the comments of the main left newspaper of the time, Avyi. The newspaper published a quite


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

negative review focusing on the main storyline and its impact on the image and identity of Greeks who belonged to the working-classes. According to this review the character of Tassos represents the ideal working-class male and this was a very successful representation in the first half of the film. However, his moral and masculine fall during the second half was conceived as something entirely fake which was being deployed by the filmmakers in order to damage the heroic image of the brave working-classes. For these reasons the critic’s characterizations of the production team were quite negative. We can’t find any truth, any hint of honesty in the film of N. Foskolos and K. Andritsos, or a proof that they came close to the working class in order to express its pain […]. On the contrary, by presenting a war hero and leading worker being transformed into a gigolo for a high class lady, they commit a crime against it as well as against the most sacred sentiments of the people of our country. Also with the erotic scenes, the drugs and the meaningless rhetorical direction, the scriptwriter and the director ‘successfully’ continue the pathetic genre of underground films.12

It can be fairly argued that the depiction of a working-class hero becoming a gigolo, and this being watched by thousands of cinemagoers, was definitely something that had to be condemned by the left-wing press in order to avoid the connection of his failure with constructing elements of working-class identity. Given the popularity of Yiorgos Foundas as an actor whose stardom was connected to an ideal working-class masculinity, The Leader broke his heroic filmic stereotype. The left-wing press seemed to have considered this dangerous for the self-determination of the working classes as morally superior to their modernized upper class counterparts. Apart from The Leader, Neighbourhood the Dream also raised a series of discussions in all major newspapers and film journals due to its social and political messages. Its reception by the press was quite controversial since it depended on various parameters. Some of these were related to the political views of each newspaper, the preferences of critics as to whether to focus on the technical or content quality of the film and whether their reviews aimed to increase or to silence the noise created due to its initial banning by the censorship committee. This banning was described very vividly in the left-wing press. According to the art journal Epitheorisi Technis, the film was initially granted permission to be publicly screened but in a demonstratively forceful

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


way the police arrived during its premiere and interrupted it. Policemen violently dragged out of the Radio-City cinema not only unknown members of the audience, but also famous actors, actresses, producers and intellectuals. All this happened in the presence of hundreds of witnesses, among them many journalists who covered the event and foreign diplomats who had been invited to the premiere. Later on, due to the reaction of the public and the press, the members of the censorship committee were obliged to resign.13 Thus, the temporary banning of the film had a central place in the full range of reviews. It can be argued, however, that the censors achieved exactly the opposite of what they had aimed for. Instead of making it difficult for the public to view the film, the huge discussion raised by their decision to ban it forced the government to re-allow its screenings two weeks later. Moreover, these discussions – which lasted for more than two months – raised the curiosity of a massive audience to make Neighbourhood the Dream one of the biggest box office successes during its year of production. An interesting review of the film appeared in the newspaper Mesimvrini. It looks for the reasons behind the censorship decision and its possible impact on the public opinion. First of all, Mesimvrini acknowledges the fact that censoring the film eventually became the best possible advertisement since it made the audience anticipate its re-release. Second, it mentions that the film adoption by the left was paradoxical since what it actually represented – the working-class losing every battle to overcome poverty and being fed deceitful hopes – was entirely at odds with their political thesis.14 Third, it provides an extremely interesting explanation of why the film was temporarily banned. According to this review, this was not due to the promotion of any subtle or explicit political message. What the censorship committee regarded as dangerous was the impact that a film depicting poverty so vividly could have on the tourism of the country. For the same reason the film was not selected to represent Greece in the Venice international film festival.15 Also, according to the same newspaper, its screening in Greece was allowed only after the censors suggested the cutting of scenes which showed the interior of Yiannis’ house in detail and one scene in which Acropolis stands in the background of the poor neighbourhood.16 However, the review condemns this policy of the state as totally unrealistic since examples from foreign cinemas, and most importantly from Italy, proved that neorealism did not pose a threat to the image of a country. Along the same lines the reviewer in Epitheorisi Technis argues:


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

So this poor neighbourhood annoyed a government which does not want even a simple narration of the real life of Greek people in local cinemas. It demands that the Greek camera stands in front of the windows of shops and shows the felicity of the few and not the poverty of the many. No tin-houses! No unemployment! No people in all-day labour! Despite the fact that all these exist we shouldn’t show them because they may damage the […] image of our country!17

Whether this was the reason the film was banned, or whether this was rather to do with its political messages, or even a combination of the two, the censorship of such films confirms the significant influence of the cinema on national and international audiences. The Greek authorities took precautionary measures in order to prevent the creation of a public outcry but the wide popularity of the film confirmed that by ‘stemming it with the halo of martyrdom’18 their efforts produced the opposite effect to that intended.

Class transition: Shifting between hegemony and subordination The demonization of the upper classes and the idealization of the workingclasses in popular film productions described so far does not suggest an unbridgeable gap between the two social strata. Their antithetical representation was the general context of storylines which served to enhance the tragic element in dramas, or the comic element in comedies and satires, related to the efforts of leading characters to perform a class upgrade. Gender hierarchies are represented as based on a different code of values in each class giving the terms ‘hegemony’ and ‘subordination’ an open-ended character. In this sense, the decision of leading characters to shift between classes becomes synonymous with a shift between hegemonic and subordinated models of masculinity. Inevitably, this breaks any ‘secure code of manly values’ and brings leading male characters vis-à-vis to a ‘masculinity crisis’. Following this, one hypothesis is that the relationship between class transition and ‘engendered failure’ was among the main elements to endow popular cinema in the 1950s and 1960s with the role of a ‘mass-consolation’ medium. As already discussed in Chapter 1, the low average income of the majority of the Greek population made catching up with the new post-civil war standards a highly problematic task. Since the majority of the audience hailed from the

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


working-classes, Greek popular films tried to present storylines and characters favourable to the masses. Thus, as well as representing an ‘idealized’ workingclass and demonizing the behaviour of the upper classes, many films also represented the process of class transition in decidedly negative terms. In this way, on the one hand, the identification of the average cinemagoer with the images and storylines on screen intensified. On the other hand, the distinction between class upgrade and happiness transformed cinema theatres into ‘consolation centres’ for the thousands of Greeks for whom the new hegemonic living standards remained beyond reach. Moreover, the connection of modernity with the negatively represented upper classes expressed a rather anti-modernizing thesis, something of an irony considering that cinema itself was a product of these new ways of living. This counter-modernity also contrasts the holistic demonization of the cinema by conservative circles and the church which insisted that the cinema theatre was a dangerous domain of corruption and immorality, especially for young people.19 To increase their popularity, films created for large audiences during the 1950s and 1960s necessarily needed to maintain simple and easily recognizable characters, meanings and storylines. In these terms, the boundaries of class and gender hierarchy should also remain clear and simple. Keeping these market values in mind, the producers of The Leader managed to create a film which respected popular taste by offering a leading character that passed clearly through the stages of a well-defined masculine hierarchy. Thus, it could be argued that the discussion of masculinity on the basis of class never overcomes the initial antithetical representation: on the one hand, we have the people of the working-classes and, on the other, the world of the elites. However, the film offers a very interesting representation of class transition and its consequences on traditional models of masculinity with Tassos becoming a collapsing bridge between the two worlds. A closer look at Tassos’ transformation from a poor worker to a member of the Athenian elite initiates a deconstruction of his failure as a male and provides insights into constitutional parts of working-class masculinity. More precisely, Tassos fails both in the private and public sphere. In the public sphere, he fails as the leader of a group of workers; his effort to maintain a balance between his old and new life is unsuccessful and he is eventually rejected by the people of his class. Thus, Tassos’ masculine fall provides his best friend Stavros with a chance to replace him as leader of the workers. In this sense, working-class masculinity is represented as a firm entity which requires a living hegemonic model to apply


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

pressure on men until they conform to its standards. Moreover, Tassos’ failure in the public sphere is also expressed through his tragic loneliness after he joins the upper class. He loses all his old friends and never manages to create a new social circle. This has a strong impact on his masculine status since it deprives him the opportunity to be a member of any male group. It could be argued that Tassos’ dishonouring in the public sphere peaks when it becomes clear that Stavros, his ex-best friend, considers him an effeminate man whom he cannot hit back. Equally important in terms of masculinity is Tassos’ failure in the private sphere. As a son, he makes his mother feel ashamed and as a brother he is unable to protect the virginity of his unmarried sister. Thus, material provision for the household seems an inadequate basis for a man’s honour if unaccompanied by a good reputation and unspoiled ethics. Moreover, Tassos appears unable to support his pregnant ex-fiance. Refusing his obligations as a future father becomes his ultimate failure as a man who is unable to create a new family. In these terms responsible fatherhood becomes a crucial element of patriarchal masculinity in which Tassos tragically fails. The end of the film summarizes the tragedy of Tassos just before he kills himself. The gros plan comes when his most characteristic moments of failure flash back in his mind, leading the viewer to conclude that his physical death simply follows the death of his gender identity. In contrast to The Leader, masculinity and gender relations in Neighbourhood the Dream become very complex and open-ended categories of analysis without the representation of a linear fall from hegemony to subordination. In fact, the film

Tassos (right) and Stavros (left) in a ‘fight’ (The Leader, 1964)

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


is entirely devoid of a character that might embody a hegemonic model of masculinity. This absence affords the director an opportunity to present a range of failed masculinities and family structures, implying that an ideal patriarchal hierarchy cannot exist in an impoverished environment. Thus, the male protagonists are not idealized types of men; on the contrary, they are characters who struggle to reach a higher life-standard and fail. This failure has a different impact on each person’s life, but consistently poses a threat to their status as males and to the patriarchal structure of their families. In a sense, hegemonic masculinity for the working-class becomes synonymous with economic robustness and class upgrade, thus, a utopia for all men in the poor neighbourhood. What is even more interesting in this context of masculine failure is the renegotiation of patriarchy. The failure of men in their primary patriarchal obligation to provide, results in the reshaping of gender relations and hierarchies with women gaining power to an extent that allows us to recognize instances of subtle ‘matriarchy’. The family of Yiannis is the most explicit example of this partial reversal of roles. Conclusively, gender relations and family structures are represented as flexible entities with men losing part of their patriarchal privileges as a consequence of their inability to provide for their household. This connects to deep changes in Greek society, especially in regard to female labour. Since the late 1950s, paid female labour had become more common, especially among unmarried working-class women, and it was a phenomenon which enhanced their efforts towards emancipation from male control.20 However, even in cases such as the family of Yiannis, matriarchy is not represented as a general substitution of patriarchy but as a temporary and exceptional solution which does not deprive impotent men of their patriarchal privileges and responsibilities. Thus, even if they work, women do not become breadwinners, rather they are integrated into the family budget. Furthermore, women who appear to be ‘the boss’ continue to be dependent on male characters, especially when entering the public sphere as a couple or a family. Neighbourhood the Dream is the only one of the four films analysed here to present cases of working-class women trying to escape poverty. However, these female efforts towards social improvement take place through relationships with upper class men and not through personal achievement. A good example to this is Stefania, the leading female character, who has dreams of a grand life. Although she is well aware that her rich boyfriend does not really care about her, she remains attached to him, with the hope that he will keep his promise and take her to Italy. But what Stefania represents in regard to gender is not


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

related only to her main decision to select a wealthy partner. Her entire way of thinking and living provides insights first, into a working-class visualization of modernity as the ideal way of living, second, into how this contrasts traditional gender values and third, into how cinema influences social behaviours. Stefania’s dreams of an affluent lifestyle are largely inspired by the Greek and international star system. Despite her poverty she keeps pin-ups of Greek actors and actresses next to her bed as well as front pages from popular magazines with photos of international cinema stars. In this way she visualizes her escape from poverty just as it might appear in a romantic film, through a relationship with a rich man.21 Thus, even within films themselves, cinema is depicted as an influential social medium, a dream-machine which offers the illusion of an escape and encourages people to seek a better lifestyle.22 Pride of place in Stefania’s pin-up collection is given to the image of Brigitte Bardot, on whom she frequently fashions herself. Stefania’s relationship to the super-feminine image of Bardot is very important as it introduces the impact of European actors on Greek society, an influence which co-existed with local models and those arriving from Hollywood. In fact, this European impact is evident not only in films but also in printed media of the time. Since the mid-1950s – and much more intensively since the early 1960s – Greek magazines had become extremely popular among Greek women and were preoccupied with the stardom of popular European stars such as Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni and The Beatles.

Stefania and the star system (Neighbourhood the Dream, 1961)

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


Brigitte Bardot in Thisavros (20.06.1963)

Sophia Loren in Pantheon (09.03.1966)

Marcello Mastroianni in Thisavros (17.05.1962)

The Beatles in Pantheon (08.04.1964)

The reception of these models was massive and it could be fairly hypothesized that the average Greek was greatly influenced by audiovisual and printed media about how to dress, speak, entertain and flirt in accordance with popular models. However, the persistence of various continuities from the patriarchal tradition adds colour in the reception, experience and representation


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

of a Western modernity which frequently renders the distinction between hegemonic and subordinate gender models quite ambiguous. In her effort to abandon her class, Stefania tries to become modern while living in a world of tradition and poverty. Thus, she is often in the centre of strong criticism not only from her family but also from all the society around her. By going out alone to meet her high class company and returning late in the night she acquires the reputation of a sexually loose female. In two scenes the camera features close-ups of the faces of women in the neighbourhood who look at Stefania in disgust as she walks to meet her boyfriend in fashionable, sexy clothes. Women of all ages watch her as judges who find her guilty for breaking the code of female shame. This perception of female morality among the working-classes and the social reaction against the ‘immoral’ women recalls the representations of gender relations in rural environments and most explicitly, the perspective of Cacoyannis in A Girl in Black. Thus, we can speak of a similarity between the mentality of the urban working-classes and rural people in regard to the code of honour and shame which also connects to the obligation of males to protect the virginity of their female kin before marriage. As Yiannis’ wife shouts at him in disgust: ‘She will end up a whore, but what else could you expect from her with such a father!’ A second example of a woman who tries to abandon the poor neighbourhood, this time through a ‘profitable’ marriage, is Rikos’ only sister. Before Rikos’ arrival her brothers try to persuade her to marry a greengrocer. ‘I, to marry a greengrocer? Never! […] You only have one sister and you want to marry her with a greengrocer. Shame on you all!’ she says. Her brothers’ response is: ‘Dear sister, an educated man won’t be a good match for you. He will ask for a big dowry that you don’t have, and you are not so young anymore, we have to hurry […]’. This conversation is an explicit example of the connection of masculinity with class and economic status. Higher education and white-collar professions are regarded as adding honour and prestige to a male, making him a more desirable groom for a girl from the lower classes than any blue-collar worker.23 In this way, a marriage – according to tradition – is represented as a ‘bargain’ of elements regarding morality, age, class, economic status and social prestige. This process was crucial in terms of whether a man and a woman could be regarded by their families and society as a couple able to create a healthy family.24 Furthermore, the marriage of a woman maintains its traditional character as a duty incumbent on her male kin, who have to secure the future of their sisters before they are allowed to create their own families. In particular,

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


the issue of dowry is represented as one of the main continuities of tradition since it also endures among the upper classes, as is evident in Face to Face. Similarly to The Leader, the film We Only Live Once represented the relationship of class with masculinity in a way which allowed the majority of lower class men to identify with the protagonist. Whereas the producers of The Leader elaborated a dramatic plot to express the negative aspect of class transition, We Only Live Once used comedy – by far the most popular genre of the time – to enhance the identification process between audiences and the film’s characters. The popularity of the film should be attributed to a great extent to its central idea: Kleon, an insignificant bank clerk, seizes the opportunity to live out his wildest dreams by becoming a member of the Athenian elite, only to realize how worthless this lifestyle truly is. Kleon’s transition between classes in We Only Live Once provides its own insights into the inner mechanisms of the Greek socio-economic system which eventually leads men to a ‘masculinity crisis’. As an average working-class clerk, Kleon demonstrates himself incapable of matching the standards of traditional masculinity in terms of honour and provision. He has to suffer various insults from his boss who constantly and in public refers to him as ‘stupid, idiotic and retarded’. His inability to defend himself derives from the fact that he desperately needs a steady salary not only for his everyday expenses but also to pay back a loan which he has taken to provide a dowry for his three sisters.25 In this way, a paid job, as the only means for provision towards the women of a family, eventually constitutes a threat to the honour of working-class men, who as a result of their employment are forced to tolerate insults from men of higher socio-economic status. However, the worst insults Kleon has to suffer due to his impoverished economic status come not from his boss but from Bibi, a woman of outstanding beauty. Conclusively, a man’s economic power in the first part of the film appears to be the most important element of what was socially regarded as a hegemonic form of masculinity. Economic power brings respect, authority, the ability to provide and a luxurious lifestyle, while to be without it transforms a man into a subordinated and demasculinized figure. Despite being a commercial film, We Only Live Once had a very wide reception in the Greek press. All major newspapers, magazines and film journals published articles related to the shooting, screening and content of the film. Apart from its excellent direction, photography and actor performances,26 the film was discussed extensively for its cast which included Dimitris Horn,


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

one of the most popular Greek actors, and Yvonne Sanson, one of the biggest stars of the Italian cinema.27 Numerous critics expressed their disappointment with Sanson, arguing that her performance did not meet the requirements of her role mainly because the director was obliged to double her voice since she could not speak fluent Greek.28 However, her stardom and bodily beauty were always praised by the Greek press and were often mentioned as a guarantee of the commercial success of the film.29 This confirms two arguments. First, that the names of the cast played a very important role to the popularity of the film. Second, that to an extent the popularity of a film depended on its ability to attract the male sexual gaze of the audience. For these reasons there was palpable anticipation in the Greek press for the appearance of Yvonne Sanson in a Greek film.30 Overall, the film reviews of We Only Live Once varied from very positive to negative. Similarly to other Greek productions narrating the problems of the working-classes, the plot caused considerable controversy in the press. In some cases it was described as one of the most successful parts of the film and it was noted that ‘it speaks directly to the soul of the average Greek cinemagoer’,31 ‘it is clever and enjoyable’,32 ‘it is a successful compilation of many genres’.33 Nevertheless there was a part of the press which described it as a completely fake representation of reality and, therefore, the film’s greatest weakness.34 Film critics also seemed to dislike the plot on the grounds that it did not belong clearly to any of the typical genres in Greek cinematography of the time; it included elements of satire, comedy and melodrama but without actually expanding their limits. Thus, according to these critics, instead of adding colour to the film the peculiarity of the plot resulted in a lack of coherence. It is also worth mentioning that in some cases George Tzavellas was compared to Michalis Cacoyannis who was also – according to these critics – an excellent director who nonetheless ‘failed’ as a script writer.35 One argument that might follow is that film critics often failed to understand the creation of a film as a product and insisted on reviewing it solely in terms of literal representation. They could not appreciate that certain ‘weaknesses’ of the plot, for example, a melodramatic protagonist becoming involved in impossible adventures until he ultimately rejects an upper class lifestyle, helped the average cinemagoer to identify with the characters on screen. Thus, we could hypothesize that films like We Only Live Once became popular because they could be viewed in much wider terms than those literally represented by the main story.

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


To sum up the points so far, the four films connect hegemonic masculinity with their leading male characters in quite different ways. While The Leader describes the fall of a character which embodies hegemonic masculinity, this kind of idealized male prototype is totally absent in Neighbourhood the Dream and We Only Live Once. In these films, male leading characters appear in an anxious struggle to catch up with hegemonic standards through class upgrade. Last but not least, Face to Face discusses the relationship of class with hegemony in a path-breaking way. Instead of deconstructing a given or implied model of traditional masculinity into its formative parts through the transition from lower to higher classes, it goes the other way around. The film begins with the male protagonist entering a phase of identity crisis by viewing elements of traditional masculinity deconstructed and subordinated to new ways of living and thinking. More precisely, in Face to Face Dimitris embodies a typical working-class man who despite holding a university degree lives almost in poverty. His entrance into the house of a rich Athenian family signifies the beginning of his meeting with a new code of morals and values. This new code initially dominates his rather traditional beliefs regarding gender, sexuality, morality, entertainment, material culture and family relations. At the end of the film, however, Dimitris performs his own personal revolution and dares to abandon an environment which antagonizes his personality and depresses his manhood. In this way, he becomes a symbol of the rejection of modernity and upper class lifestyle and at the same time a heroic prototype of workingclass masculinity. His heroic profile becomes more explicit if we compare him to the working-class leading characters in the other films analysed here. He is the only one who manages consciously to reject the world of the elites and stay attached to the working-class way of living and thinking. In comparison with other contemporary film productions, Face to Face offered a more sophisticated interpretation of the advent of modernity in Greece, as a process of negotiation and struggle between elements of tradition and various cultural transfers, rather than an oversimplified top-down phenomenon. Face to Face is perhaps the only Greek film during the period under investigation which combines intense social and political messages with a positive reception by all newspapers and film journals, regardless of their political views. Roviros Manthoulis managed to create a high art film with a very original story which offered a satirical representation of the anxieties of all classes in a period


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

of dramatic social change. Thus it was received very positively both as a piece of art and as a representation of a crisis in social and gender identities. This entirely positive reception becomes even more remarkable if we also take into consideration the fact that it was created by a director with left-wing political views. Also worth mentioning is that Roviros Manthoulis’ rich background in documentary films had an obvious reflection on the general style of Face to Face especially in the scenes that were shot outside the studios, in the original Athenian environment. Major newspapers acknowledged the film as an honest attempt on the part of Roviros Manthoulis to depict and satirize the contemporary Greek reality. In their reviews, special focus is given to the leading male character who, far from being an exaggerated depiction of a perfect male, appears as a confused figure for whom compromise with the new order of morals is a dilemma. In this way, Dimitris reflected with some accuracy the profile of an average Greek in the 1960s.36 An additional point is that the scenes of social, political, cultural and material change in Athens received extremely positive reviews, with film critics praising the kaleidoscopic view of the film on the advent of modernity. As the reviewer in Eleftheria commented: Manthoulis tries to synthesize the face of Athenian life in 1966 [‌]. A foreign style invades with remarkable barbarism [‌] bureaucracy, migration, gambling, ye-ye music, nouveau riche, political protests, economic dependence from foreign capital and tourism, demolition of traditional houses and their replacement by suffocating apartments, all these march in front of us in a powerful kaleidoscope.37

On the same issue the reviewer in Vima argues: Through an outstanding montage in every sense, the director managed to compile irrelevant elements and synthesize the profile of contemporary Athens, not only as a city with a unique character but also as a symbolic representation of all Greece.38

But what elicited the warmest enthusiasm of the critics and the audience was the final message of the film: that it is still possible for an average working-class man to escape the influence of an upper class environment, turn his back to wealth and join a protest in the streets of Athens. In this way, Face to Face was received by the Greek press as a film that broke from the prevailing picture of intense cultural alienation to express an optimistic message; the opportunity of

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


the average Greek to resist modernity, consumerism and cultural transfers and to maintain a way of living closer to tradition.39

Renegotiating tradition in the view of a problematic modernity As we have seen so far, the antithesis between working- and upper class identity in all films analysed here was mutually connected to an antithesis between tradition and modernity. Also, leading characters who dared to cross the boundaries of class acted as isolated social, cultural and ethical bridges between the two ‘worlds’, which never manage to eliminate their gap. Aiming to provide more insights into the complex mechanisms shaping the relationships between the representations of tradition, modernity, class and gender, the following analysis has a triple focus. First, it scrutinizes the relationship between tradition and modernity beyond the limitations of a simplistic antithesis between the upper and working-classes which leading characters try to break. One important area of analysis in this approach will be the background of main stories, settings and characters who become carriers of alternative meanings. Bringing these ‘background details’ to the surface will show how the negotiation between tradition and modernity was represented in popular cinema productions as a major social phenomenon. Second, tradition and modernity are interpreted as social entities which are linked by their problematic nature towards masculinity. In these terms, their antithesis and negotiation can be viewed as the main causes for the maintenance of men in a state of a constant ‘masculinity crisis’. Finally, special focus is given to how the press received the representation of this negotiation and connected it with the national and class identities, as well as with the market values of Greek cinema. A closer look at the settings and the characters of the four films unveils that the lower and higher classes are represented not as two different worlds but as formative parts of the same social structure which is largely influenced by modernity. For this reason, working-class Greeks are not represented as naive and ignorant of the new trends (as was the case with numerous representations of rural people) but as the part of the population which cannot afford a desirable modernity. This creates the context for a renegotiation of masculinity and


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patriarchal family structures in which tradition and modernity become poles of interaction. For example, in Neighbourhood the Dream one of the poorest Athenian micro societies becomes the core focus of the film. Despite being next to the centre of Athens, the neighbourhood bears little resemblance to the glamorous settings of the capital. People live in poverty, they are raggedly dressed, without electricity, telephone or automobiles, to mention only the most remarkable shortages. Thus the lifestyle of these people contrasts the spatial position of their living environment: the people of the neighbourhood are as much Athenians as the elites. Their poor living conditions highlight not only the economic inequalities of the post-war years but also how modernity, in terms of advanced consumerism, becomes inaccessible for a large part of the population. However, even in its absence, modernity generates a series of changes in traditional values contextualized by an eternal effort on the part of the working-classes to taste the lifestyle of the elites. The main aspects of this lack of modernity include some major changes in the female code of sexual shame – with Stefania (Efi) as a good example – and an obvious weakening of patriarchy (i.e. the family of Yiannis). Conclusively, the absence of modernity in the lower social strata should be seen as a subtle process which reshapes gender identities and relations, sometimes even more dynamically than it does among the upper classes. As already stated, Neighbourhood the Dream met a controversial reception in the Greek press. The apparently neo-realist character of the film was considered by some reviewers as an advantage while others saw it as a disadvantage resulting in the creation of a melodramatic plot. On the one hand, the newspapers that wanted to discourage the audience from watching it followed two main strategies. The first was to review the film as an average production lacking originality and to consider the extended discussions about its banning as the sole reason for its attractiveness.40 The second was to describe the plot as totally unrealistic, giving a fake and negative profile of contemporary Greek society and favouring the working-classes due to its left political orientation.41 On the other hand, the newspapers which reviewed the film positively praised its originality and argued that despite the fact that the plot was somewhat weak, the depiction of the harsh reality in one of the poorest Athenian neighbourhoods was shockingly realistic. One of the harshest criticisms of those cinema experts who saw the film negatively can be found in the newspaper Eleftheria. It characterizes them as nationalist zealots, who cannot bear any depiction of their country which includes less shining images than the Parthenon and the affluent avenues of the

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


capital, without calling it a national disgrace.42 Many critics also acknowledged that the excellent photography gave an original view of the scenery of Asirmatos, an area of Athens where thousands of people lived marginalized in close proximity to the glamorous settings of the capital.43 In some of the most spectacular scenes of the film the long shots of the camera on the poor neighbourhood highlight the connection of the lowest social strata with its living space, the most explicit element of an impoverished lifestyle.44 However, according to sceptical critics, even in the realistic scenes the weaknesses of the plot are obvious because they leave many gaps in the storyline, tending to idealize all the characters from lower classes in a quite simplistic and unpersuasive way.45 Unsurprisingly, the film received very positive reviews from newspapers and film journals of the left, which strongly criticized the censorship committee. These reviews confirmed what was argued by right-wing newspapers: that the film eventually became a flag for the people of the left and a boomerang for its censors and the right-wing government of the country. In fact, the left-wing press dared to turn directly against the governmental policy to censor any voice going against a ‘fake image of modernization and material felicity’.46 The left-wing newspaper Avyi’s response to the weaknesses of the plot was that they did not alter the central message of the film which shows that in a period of modernization there are still people living in ‘tin-houses’.47 It furthermore charged the censorship committee responsible for any weaknesses in the plot, on the grounds that it did not allow the filmmakers to narrate the story as they

The ‘tin houses’ (Neighbourhood the Dream, 1961)


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would have if they were left completely free to express their ideas.48 Thus, the tendency of the left press to disregard any weaknesses of the plot and focus on the realistic representations of impoverished characters is obvious. Moreover, the simplistic idealization of the working-classes as good hearted, proud and honest, which was strongly criticized by many newspapers, was received by the left-wing press at face value and as one of the director’s greatest achievements. In order to achieve the maximum idealization of the film as a symbol of the left, Avyi argues that the characters may eventually surrender to their fate, but that this attitude is certainly not the rule among the ‘heroic’ working-classes. As the reviewer mentions: The Neighbourhood is certainly a [real] neighbourhood but not the one of the heroic Athens […]. The film arrived in a period when the governmental policy uses all the means to persuade the public that the Greeks enjoy luxury, and they lack nothing […]. Neighbourhood the Dream dared to show some truths, the high unemployment and poverty, that Asirmatos exists and can be visited by anyone who wants to see the tin-houses, and to remind us the official statistics which show millions of Greeks live in poverty […]. Even when these people are driven to the ultimate stage of impoverishment, destitution and Americanization, they remain morally strong because they are by nature goodhearted, pure and altruists.49

To come to another important point, sexuality is one of the most controversial issues to be discussed in The Leader, and one which at times serves to increase and at others to diminish the ideological distance between classes. The moral code of the working class is based on the code of honour and shame considering any female premarital sexual relation as a family disgrace. Thus, in the first half of the film it is implied that young women like Mina and Kitsa, despite flirting even in public with their fiancés, maintain their virginity until marriage. This is contrasted by the image of Yioula in whom modern views on female sexuality are incorporated and connected to unrestrained extramarital sex as well as to a transformation of women into sex hunters. Her strategy to lure Tassos, which starts from a simple invitation to a boat trip and moves on to discussion while she is having a bath, confirms this argument. However, in the end the film is more flexible regarding the sexual morality in the working-classes. It shows the two female symbols of ‘traditional femininity’ abandoning the female code of sexual shame. The first, Kitsa, dissolves her engagement with Michalis and starts dating Alexis, an upper class man, who, however, abandons her after they have sex. The second, Mina, admits to Tassos

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


that she is pregnant with his child. Thus, the firm structure of the code of honour and shame in traditional societies is questioned by the sexual activity of women, thus reducing the ideological distance between classes in regard to sexual morality. Moreover, the erotic scenes with Tassos and Mina alone on the beach, the flirtation between Michalis and Kitsa and women’s paid labour are only some examples in the beginning of the film which showed that the 1960s was a period of intense negotiation between elements of tradition and modernity across the class spectrum. Similar examples of change in traditional values, especially those regarding female shame and subordination, can be found in We Only Live Once. In a very characteristic scene the young daughter of a tavern owner leaves her mother to manage the household saying that she will be back late because she has to go to a party. In this way, working-class characters begin to imitate the lifestyle and moral code of the elites in a filmic representation which somewhat prophesizes the arrival of the turbulent decade of the 1960s.50 Nor is labour an exclusively male task in We Only Live Once. Kleon has also women colleagues in the bank who are, nevertheless, significantly fewer than men and hold lower posts. Also, these women are all single, confirming the paradigm that during the period under question paid labour for the vast majority of women in the cities was seen as a temporary status that should be abandoned after marriage or motherhood. Thus, permanent labour and leadership is still considered a male task yet, the representation of female

Kleon and the young girl (We Live Only Once, 1958)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

paid labour in a film during the 1950s should be seen in relation to the social movement for gender equality and female emancipation.51 The latter becomes even clearer when Kleon is implicitly yet obviously approached erotically by one of his female colleagues. Such an approach once again breaks the limits of the code of female shame which stipulates that while women can be approached sexually by men it should never be the other way around. In its rather more sophisticated representation of social change, Face to Face is characterized by the ironic view of the director on the new trends and cultural transfers and their reflections on national, class and gender identities. To make his arguments and messages clearer, the director often moves beyond the main story to show aspects of the Athenian environment in a rather documentary or journalistic style. From the very beginning of the film the camera captures in a unique photographic view the antithesis in contemporary Athens in terms of modernity and class: tourists next to street workers, traditional, humble houses next to shining blocks of flats and impressive fountains, people in poverty next to cinema posters and photos of actors in magazines. Thus, the film begins with an implicit declaration that its characters are people from everyday reality, moving and acting in contemporary Athens, carrying all the problems, anxieties and dreams of an average Greek. The main characters and especially the male protagonist do not reproduce idealized stereotypes of class or gender but find themselves trapped in complex situations in an environment of intense negotiation between tradition and modernity.52 Despite the pursuit of realism in the film, the director presents the house of the wealthy Athenian family in an exaggerated way to show modernity, technological advancement and consumerism as vehicles of social change and symbols of higher classes. In contrast to Dimitris’ tiny, shared apartment, the home of Varvara is a huge flat, with modern decoration, spacious rooms, equipped with the latest technological innovations such as televisions, fridges, vacuum cleaners, even an internal audio communication system. The whole picture of upper class consumerism is complemented by the expensive clothes, limousines and even the food which always includes meat, a luxury product for people from working-classes. Thus, the modus vivendi of the upper classes is connected with their consumer culture which is based on the Anglo-American paradigm. In a sense, their consumer behaviour is literally and symbolically connected with an abandonment of Greek tradition, and the adaptation of a foreign way of living. It can be argued, however, that as the director tries to build a stronger and

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


clearer antithesis between the classes he also expresses the idea of negotiation between tradition and modernity with documentary-like shots. Figures of road workers, of poor men who check their lottery numbers hoping for a better future, of unemployed males who decide to migrate and of hundreds of protestors in the streets represent forms of masculinity that are shaping and being shaped by deep social change. In terms of gender relations, female emancipation is evident in the background with women wearing sexy mini skirts, smoking, drinking and flirting in cafes, images absent from the vast majority of films during the 1950s. Even the servant in Varvaras’ family is shown following modern trends by reading cineromanzi in popular magazines, listening to radio tutorials about how to be sexy and imitating the high lifestyle of her employers. It is also worth mentioning that the loss of power of men over women and the emancipation of the latter are represented as results of foreign cultural transfers. The director repeatedly shows pictures from contemporary Athens which imply that the media and tourism were the main origins of this phenomenon. For example, dozens of popular magazines with Hollywood stars on their front pages appear on the stands of every minimarket, the cinemas advertise and screen hundreds of foreign films every year, while thousands of tourists walk the streets of Athens. In a very characteristic scene, two female tourists are shown to discuss the issue of contraception, breaking every taboo in terms of sexuality. Upper class Greeks are shown passively adopting these foreign behaviours and gradually abandoning traditional gender hierarchies. As could be expected, the most positive reviews of Face to Face came from the centre and left-wing press.53 Especially in the latter, the film was reviewed as a masterpiece in all terms: direction, photography, actor performances and most importantly, content. For the left-wing press Manthoulis’ film became a symbol of class conflict proving the ‘ethical inferiority’ of the upper classes’ lifestyle and the dangers that would result from its turning into a hegemonic social model for the middle and working-classes. It is remarkable that the left press reviewed the film by focusing much more on the negative representation of the upper classes than on the positive image of the working-classes. While the most positive reviews of Face to Face came from the left-wing and centre press, the most sceptical reviews came from a number of right-wing newspapers. Despite recognizing its huge value in terms of direction, photography and performances, they expressed serious doubts regarding its plot. They found the representation of contemporary Greece unpersuasive with, on the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

one hand, a simplistic caricature of upper class lifestyle and, on the other hand, a central hero who acts in an unrealistically set social context. According to Apoyevmatini, Dimitris is not depicted as being very different to the upper class people he fights against,54 while Athinaiki mentions that the satire of contemporary Greece was not successful because the upper class characters and their lifestyle are so superficial that they recall low-budget commercial Greek films or French social comedies prior World War II.55 Overall, Face to Face was a film that enjoyed a wide reception in the Greek press which interpreted its social and political meanings in varied ways. Foreign critics related Face to Face to other Greek international successes such as the films by Michalis Cacoyannis. Moreover, they recognized its contribution to Greek cinema, which, as they claimed, was entering a higher level of quality. Roviros Manthoulis was acknowledged as a director who had dared to create a film discussing the contemporary problems of Greek society with honesty and irony, without aiming in any particular kind of audience in Greece or abroad. Manthoulis’ desire to create a film expressing his anxieties about the present and future of Greece without being censored by anyone, in combination with his outstanding talent as a director, prompted film journals and newspapers outside Greece to speak about the beginning of a new era in Greek cinema. As Davis stated: We do not often have the chance to see examples of the New Greek cinema in this country, and especially when it concerns itself with aspects of the contemporary situation [‌].56

Moreover, foreign critics were fascinated by the strength and boldness of the narration of a deep gap between social classes in a country which was struggling to find a balance between a westernizing modernity and the traditional social structures. As Marlen observed: Face to Face is a captivating social and political satire [‌]. Its narrative gives you the feeling that you are listening to the beat of a drum and it does it so with a humorous malice, both imposing and decisive, interrupted from time to time by dreamy and visionary events.57

The crisis in contemporary Greek society was especially intense for younger generations and their enthusiasm about Face to Face allows us to hypothesize an intense identification process with the male protagonist and his fight against the system. Foreign journals referred to the enthusiastic reception of the film

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


by young audiences and in some cases published translated letters from young Greeks to the director, thanking him for a superb narration of their problems.58 Conclusively, the positive reception of Face to Face from a series of foreign journals and newspapers proves that Roviros Manthoulis wrote, directed and produced a film that was considered a major step forward for Greek cinema in terms of both art and content. A further coincidence that was to enhance the role of the film as a flag for social, political and ideological change in Greece, came with the decision for an initial screening at the Festival of New Cinema in Hyeres on 21 April 1967; the same day that the colonel’s military coup took place in Athens. The new regime supported the Americanized hegemony in cultural and material terms and banned the film from being screened in Greece (Roviros Manthoulis stayed in France as self-exiled). This coincidence also attracted the interest of a series of major French newspapers and journals which fashioned the film as a symbol against authoritarianism and cultural imperialism.59

Leading men to crisis: A female task As has been discussed thoroughly in Chapter 1, the 1950s and 1960s were a period in which many aspects of traditional gender relations were renegotiated due to the deep social, cultural and economic transformations that were shaping Greece at the time. In the following pages we will explore the issue of a cinematic crisis in masculinity and the role female characters played to it. In general terms, popular cinema productions represented this crisis as a complex turbulence in male identity not autonomous from the changes happening to ‘the female other’. Masculinity is renegotiated along with femininity in the filmic world, surrounded by deep changes in longstanding models of gender relations and hierarchies of power. Female economic emancipation, the abandonment of female shame and the failure of men as providers are the main axes around which the filmmakers used to contextualize the male crisis. Thus, the traditional patriarchal structure often appears in a state of collision but is never explicitly abandoned, remaining, in this way, a caricature of the traditional male dominance in the public and private sphere. Neighbourhood the Dream offers one of the most interesting examples of how masculinity and patriarchy become problematic in the absence of ideal economic conditions, with the case of Yiannis. His inadequacy to provide the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

basics for his family reduces him to the category of an impotent male who suffers every kind of insult and humiliation from his female kin. In this way, poverty causes a partial deconstruction of patriarchy; since the male head fails to provide, part of the authority passes onto the next person capable of doing so; in this case Yiannis’ wife. Yiannis’ father is subjected to a similar treatment since he is blind and therefore unable to work. Both men are the least respected members of a family in which they are supposed to be masters. However, this crisis seems to be much more evident in the private sphere than in the public. Outside the domestic domain, Yiannis somewhat maintains the profile of a family leader. Thus, the deconstruction of patriarchy is represented as a leak of power which remains isolated within family units and does not result in the establishment of a new family order. In these terms, masculinity and femininity do not seem to be static, rather they are constantly transforming according to a network of power relations which depend largely on the ability to protect and provide for the family unit. Thus, poverty – which is mutually connected with male inadequacy – becomes the context in which gender relations are altered towards a more egalitarian status for women. In this way, the total absence of modernity actually has similar results to its full presence: (a) placing men in crisis, (b) upgrading the role of women, and (c) renegotiating male and female spheres. The representation of waged female labour is an important part of the gender and social changes. Starting as a matter of economic survival and integration of the family budget, female labour comes to confirm the argument put forward in the first chapter of this book; women from the working-classes experienced emancipation much earlier than their middle- or upper class counterparts.60 On the contrary, women from wealthy Athenian families, even though they were closer to ‘Western’ modernity, remained financially dependent on their husbands. This can be viewed clearly in Face to Face with Varvara’s family maintaining a patriarchal system even though its head is nothing but a caricature of a pater familias.61 In theory, however, he remains the leader, because he is still the sole provider. Thus, patriarchy and male superiority survive as a facade which hides the destabilization that modernity brings in family structures. A second example of male failure in Neighbourhood the Dream is Asimakis. Even though he too fails as a provider he does not face an attack on his status as a family leader. His masculinity crisis derives from a silent self-criticism; he realizes his inability to do his duty not only towards his wife but also towards his unborn child. For a man who cannot provide even the basics to his family,

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


fatherhood is the ultimate challenge to his masculinity. In these terms, Asimakis’ anxiety is deeper and more intense than that of the other male characters. Consequently, his reaction is the most extreme one: he desperately walks to the top of a nearby cliff and commits suicide. Asimakis’ death should be seen in parallel with a tragic social phenomenon in post-war Athens. Jumping off the cliff of the Acropolis was the most common way of committing suicide during the first years following the end of the civil war. Greek newspapers reported similar suicides of impoverished Athenians on an almost daily basis.62 Before Asimakis’ death the camera shows him drifting around modern Athens which is full of cars, huge buildings, neon lights and well-dressed people. His image within this context is that of a ‘small’ man sitting on the pavement alone, which increases an antithesis with the standing crowd and the huge surrounding buildings. Moreover, it connects his humble stance with his place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Thus, the suffocating modern context explicitly becomes the cause of his failure as a husband and future father, and thus, his physical death follows the ‘death’ of his masculinity. It is also worth mentioning that Neighbourhood the Dream presents emotional openness as a characteristic of the masculinity crisis, which both leading and secondary male characters undergo. More specifically, in a very dramatic scene Yiannis is shown embracing his father with both men crying due to their failures as providers. Similarly, in another scene Asimakis hugs his wife while crying for forgiveness because he has entrusted the family’s last money to Alekos. Both scenes present working-class men neo-realistically, far beyond any heroic stereotypes of the kind of brave, fearless, ‘iron’ masculinity commonly present in popular Greek film productions. Asimakis’ death recalls the case of Tassos in The Leader who also dies after failing in a series of masculine domains. The fall of Tassos begins with his inability to stand as an adequate provider for his household, a task which includes the ‘provision’ of a groom to his sister. His male duties cause him to rethink his options and finally ‘sell’ himself to Yioula.63 In one of the most tragically intense scenes of the film, the camera focuses on Tassos’ face when he asks Michalis, his sister’s fiancé, not to embark on the ship for Belgium. Tassos’ dilemma between honourable living and the need to provide for his female kin is revealed through the photographic gros plan as he hesitates repeatedly before calling back Michalis. The director skilfully deploys this technique in order to capture the moment when the decision for the abandonment of hegemonic


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Yiannis and his father as ‘impotent’ men (Neighbourhood the Dream, 1961)

masculinity and subordination to a ‘female master’ is taken, an act which for a working-class hero is tantamount to a ‘self-castration’. The meetings of Tassos with Yioula that take place before they enter into a relationship are extremely interesting because they show how the traditional moral code of honour and shame eventually becomes a trap for the symbol of working-class masculinity. Yioula, charmed by the personality of Tassos, undertakes a traditionally male role, that of the sexual hunter. Initially, Tassos does not response to her erotic proposals. Thus, the film makes a clear connection between

Tassos in a dilemma (The Leader, 1964)

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


hegemonic masculinity and sexual restraint when sex threatens the status of an honourable male.64 In this sense, Yioula becomes a femme fatale who threatens to ‘kill’ traditional forms of masculinity since her unruliness goes against traditional family structures and feminine codes of morality.65 Yet, Tassos remains a gentleman in his manners, he respects Yioula as his boss, and he even dances zeimbekiko for her, an exclusively male dance which men perform only for themselves.66 In the presence of Yioula, zeimbekiko is transformed from a strictly personal dance and demonstration of masculinity, to a ritualistic erotic dance which is performed before an active audience. This should be seen as a first subtle defeat of workingclass masculinity since it loses one of the ultimate means to be celebrated as an autonomous, individual entity. The unruliness of Yioula did not go uncommented by the press. The newspapers Akropolis and Athinaiki remarked on the superb performance of Maro Kondou and praised her ability to use strategies of sexual seduction. According to these reviews, Yioula’s methods were usually employed by male characters trying to take advantage of poor girls in films depicting ‘realities prior to the female economic independence’.67 Indeed, a whole range of dramatic films during the 1950s took the sexual seduction of lower class girls by rich men as their central plot device.68 The newspapers in question interpreted the unruliness of Yioula and the reversal of roles between sex hunter and victim as a result of women’s economic independence during the 1960s, drawing an explicit parallel between the film storyline and its social context. Female sexuality and eroticism are also key issues in Face to Face, and here too they relate masculinity to class and modernity. Varvara’s father is a family leader who fails to protect the virginity of his unmarried daughter and secure the fidelity of his wife. In relation to the latter, his failure takes the form of sexual impotency since he is never shown in moments of intimacy with her and the couple appears sleeping in separate beds. His inadequacy is contrasted by the working-class male protagonist who is sexually lusted after and seized upon by the wife and daughter of his employer. It could be fairly hypothesized that what makes Dimitris so desired is exactly what he represents in terms of class and lifestyle. Although he is not ‘Hollywood-like’ handsome, trendy or rich, his personality, which encapsulates an original working-class Greekness, transforms him into a pole of attraction for upper class women. What makes him so original is that he is not a fake idealized character but a man of remarkable shyness and a strong belief in traditional values. In these terms, working-class masculinity is represented as a relatively solid identity which resists modernity


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

but comes into crisis when entering higher social circles. For this reason, Dimitris is in a constant dilemma about how to respond to the obvious sexual invitations of Varvara and her mother. His hesitations transform him into a sexual prey for the two women, who ignore – just like Yioula did in The Leader – every aspect of the traditional moral code of shame. The sexual encounter of Dimitris with Rena and Varvara can be seen as a symbolization of the reversal of power relations between classes and genders. First, by having sex with a rich man’s daughter and wife, Dimitris represents a female sexual preference for working-class men over upper class men. Second, Dimitris’ sexual revolution is subtly shown to be encouraged by a broader socio-political revolution. The scenes of men involved in centre-left demonstrations in the streets of Athens against the right-wing government of the time can be seen as the context of Dimitris’ sexual awakening. In a symbolic way this is also his personal contribution to the effort of the masses to change established hierarchies. Third, the sexually passive role of Dimitris and the – remarkable for a Greek film of this period – sexual aggressiveness of his partners, represent an upgrade of women’s status which causes a crisis in traditional models of masculinity. Thus, Dimitiris’ passiveness in sexual terms makes him feel uncomfortable with his masculine identity. To express the depth of this amalgam of sexual, gender and class crisis, Roviros Manthoulis brings representations of the unconscious of the male protagonist vividly to the screen. Thus, in Face to Face the male unconscious becomes a new filmic domain on which vulnerable masculinities are deconstructed. Following the new experiences of the protagonist among the elites, Dimitris’ passiveness in the first two dreams/illusions becomes the context of his subordination. First, he wants to send Varvara out of his house only to see it being transformed into her house and, thus, himself being transformed into an intruder. In this way, Varvara is shown dominating in his house which symbolizes his class and lost patriarchal authority. Dimitris’ nostalgia for traditional values becomes explicit in his second dream. The protagonist imagines himself dressing Rena whom we have seen throwing her clothes in his face, as is her habit before their sexual encounters, only to undress her himself and regain his role as a sex hunter. In this way, sexual aggressiveness becomes one of the key elements through which gender hierarchies can be constructed or deconstructed. It is also worth mentioning that, despite the reversal of sexual roles, the female body remains the one which

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


Varvara in Dimitris’ fantasy (Face to Face, 1966)

is highly eroticized and objectified by the gaze of the camera. In most erotic scenes the camera focuses on Varvara’s and Rena’s nude bodies, implicitly disregarding the presence of Dimitris who always appears dressed. Dimitris’ fears and insecurity about the upper class environment are maximized in his third dream: he imagines himself standing still before the armed members of Varvara’s family who eventually execute him. The fact that this execution is represented as a bad dream contributed in making the film a manifesto against the high class lifestyle, unlike other films in which the ‘death’

Rena in Dimitris’ fantasy (Face to Face, 1966)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

of working-class identity takes place in real life (We Only Live Once) or leads to physical death (The Leader). One of the most interesting aspects of Dimitris’ ‘execution’ is that the women of the house are shown semi-dressed. In these scenes the female body could be seen as the most fatal weapon of women against male superiority. Through its ‘aggressive’ nudeness it becomes the cutting edge which fragments the traditional code of honour and shame and transforms men into subordinated sexual partners. The female nudity in Face to Face confirms that the 1960s was the decade in which the female body was objectified by all media, indicating the persistence of an active male gaze on a female sexual target. Even in cases of films which incorporate an eroticization of the male body, the eroticization of the female body is always evident, even in an ‘awkward’ way. For example, in The Leader the director includes scenes of female nudity which are completely unnecessary for the unfolding of the storyline (such as the scene when Kitsa dresses up in front of the mirror and the various scenes from the erotic encounters between Yioula and Tassos). Conclusively, the eroticization and objectification of the female body in numerous film productions during the period 1949–67 was one of the key means for capturing the male gaze and attracting large audiences.69 This gaze can also be seen as the ultimate expression of the persistence of older gender hierarchies according to which women are the subordinated and sexually objectified gender.70

Dimitris’ ‘execution’ (Face to Face, 1966)

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


Rethinking masculinity and class The analysis of the four main films in this chapter does not lead only to certain conclusions about how masculinity and class were represented in Greek films; it also opens new fields of enquiry and interpretation regarding the relationship of popular culture with gender. If we look at these films from a broader perspective, we can better understand the similarities and the differences in the representations of masculinity and class in different genres, years of production, directors, actors and storylines. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of their reviews in the national and international press sheds extra light on matters of reception as well as indicating how the production process influenced the construction of filmic meaning. In this way, in addition to being autonomous cultural artefacts, popular films can be also viewed and interpreted as historical entities. This interpretation becomes more valid when the filmic representations are connected with the impact of the turbulent decade of the 1960s on gender identities and family structures. As the main form of entertainment, cinema could not remain unaffected by the deep social changes and the advent of modernity which were bringing the mentalities of people from different socio-economic backgrounds closer together. Thus, representations of class in popular films can be seen as a part of a broader negotiation process between social change and popular culture. In general, the upper classes are represented as the main carriers of new ideologies while the working-classes are presented as the part of the society which remains attached to a more traditional lifestyle. In this way, modernity, class and gender are represented in films as interrelated categories, shaped and connected by relations of power. In Greek films, modernity in the form of sexual emancipation and advanced consumerism flows from social structures which are considered as superior and ‘hegemonic’ to those that are considered as inferior and subordinated. Thus, western European or American models of behaviour, consumption, morality and gender are imported to Greece by the urban upper classes to be eventually adopted by the lower urban and rural classes. However, the continuity and persistence of a longstanding patriarchal tradition renders this change something more than simply a top-down process. This tradition is what eventually leads male characters who dare to make the leap from one class to another to a gender crisis, proving that the new trends cannot simply erase the elements of previous hegemonic models of masculinity.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

However, traditional perceptions of gender are not evident solely in the mentality and lifestyle of people with lower class backgrounds. Even among the upper classes the changes in perceptions of masculinity and femininity, although intense, continue to be framed by traditional patriarchal structures. Thus, from a broader perspective, modernity, tradition and class are represented in films of this period as fluid categories in which ideas about masculinity, femininity and family structures are constantly circulated, negotiated and transformed. A central continuity from patriarchal tradition is the connection of masculinity with provision. Men from the upper and working-classes, as well as those in class transition, are always expected to be the main providers for their households. In some cases provision for female kinsfolk becomes the main motive for a class upgrade (The Leader, Neighbourhood the Dream and We Only Live Once are good examples). However, the new consumer ideologies along with the impoverished state of the working-classes often make the sole male provision for the family impossible. Consequently, either in the main story or in the background of many scenes, working-class women are often shown working outside the traditional domestic domain. In these terms, patriarchal masculinity is represented as encountering two threats: first, modernity, especially as a new form of morality which allows women to abandon the traditional code of sexual shame, and second, paid female labour which questions the exclusive male task of provision to the family. Modernity deprives men of two of the most fundamental elements of traditional masculinity. First, the opportunity to protect the virginity of unmarried female kin and secondly, it denies their role as the sole sexual hunters, a status that implied their ‘a priori superiority’ over female ‘sexual targets’. In addition to these factors, working-class male characters often appear sexually restrained, emotionally shy and caught in the attempt to resist the charm and erotic siege of women from upper class backgrounds.71 In addition to this, we have seen how the abandonment of female sexual shame starts to become a common phenomenon among working-class women whose lifestyle was increasingly influenced by the media and tourism. Furthermore, depictions of paid labour undertaken by working-class women not only highlight the male inadequacy for provision, but also upgrade the subordinate ‘housewife-role’ of women and legitimize their ‘invasion’ of traditionally male domains. In this way, powerful femininity becomes the main axis around which modernity and gender change evolve, inevitably bringing more anxieties to men regarding their masculinity.

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


The transition from the one class to the other is always represented as performed by, or dependent on, male characters and it always occurs from the bottom of the class pyramid to the top. In each of the films analysed here – as well as in the majority of the films depicting class transition during the period under investigation – working-class men aim to join the Athenian elite.72 It could well be observed by the representation of this class transition in relation to the films’ year of production, that in the 1950s it happens as something unexpected: fate, or coincidental event. We could hypothesize that this was largely influenced by the profile of Greek society in the 1950s. In a period when the opportunities for a class upgrade were extremely limited, unexpected events such as an accounting mistake (e.g. We Only Live Once), love at first sight (e.g. The Leader), a hefty inheritance (e.g. O Thisavros tou Makariti [The Dead Man’s Treasure], 1959), or a lottery win (e.g. Kiriakatiko Xipnima [Windfall in Athens], 1954), were the only means for directors to represent a class transition in a credible way. In contrast, during the 1960s, films show class transition much more as a process, a conscious effort by male protagonists to acquire money, reputation and power. It is also worth mentioning that class transition is represented as a multidimensional change which dynamically transforms the social and masculine status of men. Quite often the film characters who attempt this transition speak nostalgically about the ‘death’ of their old selves and the birth of new ones (i.e. The Leader, We Only Live Once). In these terms, the class transition becomes a bridge which leads men from the bottom of the social pyramid to the top but without offering the chance to incorporate the changes into their social identity. Thus, as far as the main film characters are concerned, the stereotypical antitheses between upper and lower classes, ‘we’ and ‘they’, ‘before’ and ‘now’ survive even though the background settings, characters and lifestyles often support exactly the opposite. Commonly, this class upgrade, if successful, does not last long. It is often followed by an identity crisis which eventually leads film characters to a second escape varying from a harmless return to a previous social status (We Only Live Once) to suicide (The Leader). In these terms, leading male characters are represented as unable to adjust to an honourless upper class lifestyle or to reject it and maintain the working-class hegemonic code of honour. A second argument is that popular cinema did not try to bridge the gap between classes. On the contrary, films gained popularity by focusing on and expanding this gap either to elicit laughter, in the case of comedies, or tears in dramas. Specifically in the latter, men become tragic figures whose gender identity collapses as they move


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

between classes to perform their ultimate duty of provision. In these terms, and in many cases, traditional hegemonic masculinity becomes a masculine ‘utopia’ or ‘myth’ since men are virtually condemned to choose between two failures: either in terms of provision or in terms of morality. We can conclude that masculinity is not represented in films as a solid, firm and unchangeable entity. The close look on these four films has revealed the shared fate of men from all classes to live in a state of constant masculinity crisis. Even in cases when this crisis is not explicit in leading characters, men in the background of the main story demonstrate the problematic nature of masculinity. Thus, class transition does not break any ‘masculine stability’ of working-class men but rather reveals its fragility and fragmentation. However, this eternal masculinity crisis is not merely a working-class phenomenon. The main difference in the representation of working and upper class crises is that in the first, male characters acknowledge it and it becomes an important part of the storyline, whereas in the latter, men do not appear to care about their distance from traditional models of masculinity. Thus, upper class male characters remain in a state of ignorance regarding their ‘dishonourable’ lifestyle and ethics. In a sense, they become negative images which help the audience identify with working-class characters and to understand the nature of a desirable as well as problematic modernity.

Notes   1 Details of the four main films analysed in Chapter 4 can be found in the Appendix.   2 However, men are not depicted as the only providers for their households. Young, unmarried women also work in the iron factory. This suggests that poverty is represented as an influence on gender spheres during a period when new consumer ideologies were established in Greek society. For female labour and economic emancipation in Greece see Chapter 1.   3 It has to be noted that Face to Face was a film of average popularity and was exceptionally selected for this analysis because it is an extraordinary production in the Greek cinematography of the period under investigation. Roviros Manthoulis managed to create a film which intelligently satirizes its contemporary social context as it was moving from traditional patriarchy to a more modernizedwesternized way of thinking and living. Many major Greek and international newspapers and film journals included extended reviews of Face to Face which

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


offer a unique opportunity to see how the film was received by national and international audiences. To the wide reception of the film in the press also contributed to the fact that it participated in several film festivals in Greece and abroad, winning important awards.   4 However, higher education in popular films is not always depicted as an option leading to a social, economic or masculine success. As Kleon puts it in We Only Live Once: ‘I graduated from the university with a distinction only to get a big zero in life’. The superiority of blue-collar labour to white-collar labour and education is also explicit in Thanasakis o Politevomenos [Thanasakis Becomes a Politician], 1954.   5 For the objectification of the female body in Greek popular culture see also Chapter 2. Another actor whose body was highly eroticized by the camera and became a pole of attraction for female cinemagoers was Kostas Kakkavas.   6 The factory also becomes a symbol of working class masculinity because it helps men to maintain their traditional role as breadwinners and heads of their families.  7 Gazzete de Lausanne (date n/a).   8 ‘My ambition was to make the audience protest against contemporary moral, social and political barbarisms […]. It is useless to underestimate the intelligence of the audience and even worse, that of the Greek audience […]. This film will gain a special place in the hearts of the majority of the audience’. (Ethnos 20.12.1966)  9 Ellinika Themata (February 1967). 10 Ibid. The peculiarities of Face to Face were also discussed by the foreign press e.g. ‘The film deserves to be studied and analysed for both its peculiar production method and its content and style’ (Gazzete de Lausanne date n/a). 11 Kinimatografikos Astir (30.10.1964). 12 Avyi (20.10.1964). 13 Epitheorisi Technis (August–September 1961). For the neo-realistic character and the temporary banning of the film see also Poupou (2012: 264–5). 14 The same opinion is implicitly supported by Kathimerini (18.10.1961): ‘Their [the main characters’] submission to the fate is an act of impotent people, not of the brave’. 15 Despite the nomination of the film to participate in Venice Film Festival the Greek ambassador in Italy made huge efforts to ensure that the festival committee rejected its participation. (Epitheorisi Technis August–September 1961). The decision of the government one year later to ban the distribution of Epitheorisi Technis in certain institutions i.e. political prisons should also be noted. On this issue see Epitheorisi Technis (July 1962). 16 ‘Will we allow the people to see that there is such poverty in the roots of our sacred mountain? Never!’ (Mesimvrini 16.10.1961). 17 Epitheorisi Technis (August–September 1961).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Mesimvrini (16.10.1961). On the views of the church on cinema see Chapter 2. See Chapter 1. In several scenes she appears to sing a famous song from the film To Xilo Vyike apo ton Paradeiso [Spanking Started in Heavens], 1959 in which Aliki Vouyiouklaki plays a well-to-do teenage girl who falls in love with her handsome but poor high school teacher (Dimitris Papamihail). Even the lyrics of this song imply woman’s subordination to a male since they describe woman as a beautiful and tender pussycat. 22 For the popularity of Greek cinema and its influence on mass audiences see also Chapter 2. The influence of the cinema in decision-making is often present in popular films of this period, for example, Stefania, 1966. It is also worth mentioning that the modern images of the actors and actresses are contrasted by a picture on the next wall showing her father in a military uniform. Military service was generally considered a masculine obligation and in many traditional societies a man was regarded as able to create a family only after its completion. On this issue see also Chapter 1. 23 Higher education is quite often depicted in films of this period as honourable for a man and his family, making it a basic element in hegemonic types of masculinity. Some examples of such films are: O Gambros mou o Dikigoros [My Son in Law is a Lawyer], 1962; Amartola Heria [Sinful Hands], 1963; Htipokardia sta Thrania [Highschool Love], 1963; O Loustrakos [The Little Shoe Shiner], 1962. 24 The elements which constitute an ideal bride or groom can be also seen in marriage requests that appear regularly in newspapers of this period. For example see Nea (05.12.1958; 24.10.1960). 25 The provision of a dowry was presented as a huge problem for men from the lower classes in numerous comedies and melodramas of the period under investigation. Some examples are: Despoinis Eton 39 [Miss at the Age of 39], 1954; O Papatrehas [The Running-father], 1966. For dowry and its transformations in modern contexts see also Chapter 1. 26 Athinaiki (11.03.1958); Akropolis (11.03.1958); Eleftheria (12.03.1958); Kathimerini (12.03.1958); Apoyevmatini (11.03.1958); Nea (11.03.1958). 27 It is also worth mentioning that this was the most expensive production of Finos Film, the biggest film company in Greece at that time, mainly due to its popular cast. 28 ‘Yvonne Sanson does not forget even for a second that she is a big star which plays with the plebeians. But this is completely illogical because apart from her stardom she offers nothing else to this film’ (Eleftheria 12.03.1958).   ‘Tzavellas was unlucky with the selection of the female protagonist […] the role is not of her type and she plays without passion and expression to an extent 18 19 20 21

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


that her presence instead of being an advantage it becomes a disadvantage for the film’ (Ethnos 11.03.1958). ‘There was no reason to bring an actress from Italy for the female role and to double her voice. Yvonne did not manage to remember perfectly her Greek’ (Kathimerini 12.03.1958).    ‘The only thing that Yvonne Sanson offers to the film is her popular name’ (Nea 11.03.1958). 29 ‘Mr Tzavellas, it seems you found, the gorgeous woman, the 100% female, like you wanted her, the one that turned Dimitris Horn from a bank clerk to a convict’ (Othoni 20.05.1957). ‘Yvonne Sanson is superbly photographed and she is much better than in her Italian films’ (Akropolis, 11.03.1958). ‘The famous, gorgeous protagonist of Italian melodramas Yvonne Sanson is impressive…’ (Athinaiki 11.03.1958). ‘The arrival of Yvonne Sanson, the first ever foreign star who comes to play in a Greek production is the reason why so much has been written about this film […] Yvonne Sanson is gorgeous and elegant’ (Apoyevmatini 11.03.1958). 30 As the following quotation shows, even her luxurious lifestyle was seen as a national success and a model for the average cinemagoer. ‘Her villa has nothing to envy of those of Hollywood stars in Bellaire […] it has a living room 30 metres long. The decoration of the house is fantastic. It has a very modern character which left us really amazed. In this amazing environment the gorgeous Yvonne, looking like an ancient Greek goddess of hospitality, accepted us’ (Othoni 20.05.1957). 31 Akropolis (11.03.1958). 32 Kathimerini (12.03.1958); Nea (11.03.1958). 33 Apoyevmatini (11.03.1958). 34 ‘…[the plot] does not have the originality and the quick tempo that we expected and the film depends solely on the prestige of its protagonists’ (Athinaiki 11.03.1958). 35 ‘Even though director Tzavellas made a very good job, the screenwriter Tzavellas – just as happened recently with Cacoyannis – messed it up’ (Ethnos 11.03.1958). 36 Eleftheria (21.12.1966); Ethnos (20.12.1966); Mesimvrini (20.12.1966); Ellinika Themata (February 1967).    ‘The director managed to avoid creating caricatures. The characters are not symbols of absolute good or evil […] they all live in an illogic reality […]’ (Ellinikos Kinimatografos March 1967). 37 Eleftheria (21.12.1966). 38 Vima (21.12.1966). 39 Ellinikos Kinimatografos (March 1967). 40 ‘This [its initial banning] perhaps worked as a flag, as a magnet for the audience which will be disappointed because a lot has been said and written for a quite


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

ordinary film which lacks anything great, even great mistakes […] it’s just a flat narration of a story without any complicated artistic pursuit’ (Kathimerini 18.10.1961).    ‘It brings us back to neorealism which is nowadays abandoned by everybody, even by its creators, the Italians’ (Apoyevmatini 17.10.1961).    ‘There have been so many discussions about this film virtually for no reason; it was banned only because its producers decided to show it to large audiences without the necessary license […] the film has an inacceptable and fake plot which refuses to accept and show the real improvement of life standards in our country during the last years’ (Vradini 16.10.1961).    ‘The fact that the minister himself banned this film was enough to make it notable’ (Nea Estia date n/a). 41 ‘Although the story is set in an excellent way, we totally disagree with its content. It goes almost against human nature and the discussions about its [political] messages are inexcusable’ (Ellinika Themata November 1961). 42 ‘According to their way of thinking, the majority of realistic literature worldwide should be put on fire […] Masterpieces of the Italian, German, Russian, even the American cinema should be put in the dustbin. But this is nonsense. Every form of art has the right as well as the obligation to depict every aspect of life provided that it does it with honesty and realism’ (Eleftheria 18.10.1961).    ‘The theme and the settings in the poor Athenian neighbourhood as well as the way they are presented by the director remind us films of the Italian neorealist school’ (Theamata 25.10.1961). 43 ‘Dimos Sakellarios (the photographer) did not use any special effect, and thus the depiction of the neighbourhood and its misery is marvelously realistic’ (Eleftheria 18.10.61).   ‘Neighbourhood the Dream has honest and decent intentions. It is a brave film which undertakes a very important task: to represent a very hot social problem […]. In regard to direction and photography it is a film of European standards’ (Nea Estia date n/a). 44 For a close reading of the film with a particular focus on space and class see Milonaki (2004: 241–60). Milonaki also makes an interesting comparison of Neighbourhood the Dream with Mayiki Poli [Magic City], 1954 another film with strong social and class connotations. 45 ‘The weakest part of this film is of course the plot with the protagonists’ strange way of thinking and the sudden changes in their psychology and character’ (Theamata 25.10.1961).    ‘The characters are ‘straight-cut’, everything is presented simplistically and the meanings are very superficial’ (Kathimerini 18.10.1961).

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


   ‘The influences of Italian neorealism in the film are obvious. But the characters of Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti and Zampa are not so melodramatic. They don’t shout, they are not ‘straight-cut’, they have complexities which make them persuasive’ (Nea Estia date n/a). 46 Avyi (18.10.1961). 47 The intention of the filmmakers was to present as persuasively as possible view of everyday life in poor Athenian neighbourhoods. As the director and male protagonist Alekos Alexandrakis wrote in Epitheorisi Technis (October 1961: 359): ‘My dream was to create a film which depicts realistically the environment in which we live, to show original people and above all to be deeply Greek’. In the same article Kostas Kotzias and Takis Leivaditis, the script-writers, declared that: ‘As our main objective was the creation of a film which would reflect in the most deep and honest way contemporary Greek reality. In simple terms, all its characters to be real contemporary Greeks with their emotional world tightly attached to their everyday problems’. 48 ‘Given that it was the director’s first film and with Karamanlis’ censorship hanging above his head, Neighbourhood the Dream has inevitably some weaknesses’ (Avyi 18.10.1961). 49 Avyi (18.10.1961). 50 See also next chapter in which the representation of rebellious youth cultures during the 1960s is scrutinized. 51 For female labour in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s see Chapter 1. 52 ‘The director has managed to avoid every caricature. His characters are not symbols of the absolute good or evil. A certain formalism, a curious mixture of Antonioni for the film’s flexible styling, and Godard for its fragmentary narrative, keeps us constantly at a certain distance from the events and helps us to evade the danger of naturalism and didacticism’ Gazzete de Lausanne (date n/a). 53 A similar reception was accorded to all films of a relevantly high artistic quality whose content praised working classes i.e. Neighbourhood the Dream. 54 Apoyevmatini (20.12.1966). 55 Athinaiki (20.12.1966). 56 Films and Filming (March 1969). Similarly, in BFI (3) it is argued that: ‘Face to face has so much slyness, wit, and irony in both dialogue and picture that no single taboo remains untouched’. 57 Cinema (1966). 58 ‘Dear Sir,    I am writing to you to express my admiration and gratitude. You are one of the few who insist on reminding to us, the young people, that the decadence we are going through is not a healthy situation. We are in danger of forgetting everything


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

capable of adding value and meaning to our lives. I hope you will continue your work.   Thank you,    D. M. Athens’. Letter quoted in BFI (2). 59 Extended reviews of Face to Face can be found in Cinéma (1968); Positif (February 1968); Film Français – Cinémato (22.12.1967). 60 However, even if women are shown entering the public sphere, men – no matter how badly they fail in their duties – are never shown performing domestic duties which are still considered as an exclusively female task. 61 As Varvara said to Dimitris: ‘He looks tough, but the person who actually runs this place is Rena, his wife’. 62 For these suicides see also the television programme Reportaz Horis Sinora [Reportage Without Borders], 19.04.2007, ‘Τα Δικά Μας 60s: Mέρος Πρώτο: Μια Χώρα που Θέλει να Ζήσει’ [Our 60s: Part 1: A Country Struggles to Survive], hosted by Greek National Television Station. 63 His tragic figure is explicitly shown in an argument with his sister when she first suggests the idea of him having an affair with Yioula in order to improve of their life standards. In this scene Tassos says: ‘Are you crazy? Do you know what people would say if this was done by a woman?’ Kitsa’s response was: ‘If a woman did this they would say that she is a whore. But if a man did this they would say that he is a mangas and they would congratulate him’. 64 Sexual restraint was used to contrast hegemonic and marginalised types of masculinity in terms of locality. See Ayoupa to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass], 1957; To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956 which are analysed in Chapter 3. 65 Tassos’ decision to accept Yioula’s erotic invitation is made in a rather symbolic way. In a previous meeting, she invites him for a ride in her speedboat, but he proudly answers: ‘I cannot accept your offer because first of all, I already have company and second, in my neighbourhood men take women for strolls, never the other way round’. In the night when he takes the big decision, Yioula plays with his mind, asking him this time to take her for a ride. Tassos accepts this, but he is actually taken out since Yioula drives the car. In a sense, Tassos’ behaviour forecasts his defeat as the embodiment of traditional masculinity since he becomes a follower and not the leader of a relationship.Women playing the subordinated gender or the sexual pray until they conquer their men is a very common trope in films of this period. Some examples are: Patera Kaste Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty], 1967; I de Yini na Foveitai ton Andra [A Wife Shall Fear of Her Husband], 1965; Oloi oi Antres Einai oi Idioi [Men Will Always Be… Men], 1966. 66 For zeimbekiko see also Chapter 1. This dance is quite often shown in Greek cinema as a celebration of traditional masculinity.

Money, Pride or Both? Masculinity and Class


67 Akropolis (20.10.1964); Athinaiki (20.10.1964). 68 For examples and comments on this kind of films see Soldatos (2002: 70–3). 69 The most ‘famous female bodies’ of the Greek cinema were those of Zoi Laskari, Aliki Vouyiouklaki, Martha Karayianni and Maro Kondou. See also the eroticized advertisements of Greek films in Chapter 2. 70 However, during the 1960s we have the example of Kostas Kakkavas, a very popular actor whose muscular body was the cause of his fame and was consistently highlighted by the framing of the camera. 71 However, this change in erotic roles did not alter the way that the camera objectified sexually the body. In all the erotic scenes the female body remains that which is sexually objectified by the gaze of the camera. Keeping in mind the huge popularity of these films, the objectification of the female body suggests that the gaze of the audience remained heterosexually male. 72 A very popular film that goes against this paradigm is Monderna Stahtombouta [Modern Cinderella], 1965. In this film, the female protagonist moves from one of the most impoverished Athenian neighbourhoods to become a member of the middle classes when she is hired as a secretary in a company. At the end, she joins the Athenian elite by marrying her boss.


Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age

While analysing the filmic representations of locality and class in Chapters 3 and 4, it has been implied that the advent of a ‘Western’ modernity was among the most important axes which led gender identities to encounter significant challenges. Stemming from the previous arguments, Chapter 5 crosses particular social and local contexts and scrutinizes the relationship of modernity with gender. Special focus is given to issues regarding the moral and economic emancipation of women, the creation of dynamic youth cultures and the impact of social and material change on traditional masculine models, gender hierarchies and family models. In this way, the following discussion aims primarily to demonstrate how cinema incorporated a multidimensional negotiation of a longstanding patriarchal tradition with modern ideologies and to unveil its various ‘grey points’. Thus, ‘Western modernity��� will not be approached as a predominating new paradigm but as a complicated process of social, cultural and gender reformation which reflected upon a powerful and persistent patriarchal model. Inevitably, this process gave birth to a range of ‘Greek modernities’ whose indigenous and foreign constitutive elements will be examined in what follows. The corpus of films selected for a close reading in this chapter includes Stella, 1955; I Theia apo to Sikago [The Aunt from Chicago], 1957; Katiforos [The Fall], 1961 and Despoinis Diefthindis [Miss Director], 1964.1

Profitable bodies: Embodying a new morality It is striking that despite their differences in terms of genre, plot, characters, audiences and directors, each of the four films analysed here found ways to


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

highlight the significance of the changing projections of the male and female body in Greek society as a core element of an ambiguous modern context. The body was represented as a signifier of social meanings which influenced, and was influenced by, the tension between modern and traditional perceptions of gender. Through this feud, gender roles, spheres and hierarchies altered significantly, and the body – as well as the elements of the material culture which accompany it – changed the rules of the dispute between hegemonic and subordinated types of masculinity. Furthermore, the preoccupation of the Greek film culture with the representation of the body – especially during the 1960s – boosted the initial creation of an extremely popular star system. In this way, the reshaping of popular taste and the restructuring of hegemonic images of masculinity and femininity according to specific ‘super bodies’, expanded far beyond cinema screens to confirm the role of the cinema as the most socially influential medium of the time. The preoccupation of male characters with the ability of the female body to attract the male sexual gaze is one of the main axes that the four films analysed here share. With the patriarchal tradition demanding the prohibition of any kind of sexual objectification of related females, and the modern fashion promoting exactly the opposite, traditional masculinity faces the first big challenge. If we take a closer look at the four films, it becomes obvious that the eroticization of the female body acquires a central place in the development of their storylines. First, it starts to destabilize a traditional system of values in the 1950s to become the core element of the collision between tradition and modernity during the 1960s. We can take as an example the opening scenes of The Aunt from Chicago and Stella. Both use discussions about as well as images of the female body to introduce the viewer to the narration of a controversially received modernity. In the first case, Harilaos, the embodiment of traditional values and morals, is stunned when he watches a woman buying transparent underwear. For him, the function of female underwear is primarily to work as a shield against the male sexual gaze while the item in question does exactly the opposite. This is the first example of a new reality with which a traditional man cannot compromise. For the same reason, when it comes to the females of his house, Harilaos is caricatured as an obsessive guard who does anything possible to avoid the sexualization of their bodies. The way his daughters and wife dress, walk, talk, entertain and socialize corresponds to the constant agony of pater familias to maintain his honour.2 In particular, in the beginning of the film the comic element is built upon the general effort of Harilaos to resist a

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


modernized context which encourages the transformation of the female body into a pole of attraction for the male gaze. However, everything changes in the second part of the film after the arrival of the embodiment of this change, the aunt from Chicago. The image of the unmarried girls changes dramatically and their bodily beauty, along with their traditional ‘female virtues’, is successfully elaborated with a view to the attraction of potential grooms.3 From the very outset of Stella, Cacoyannis underlines the importance of the female body, in a way which charmed domestic and foreign audiences. Stella, the main female character, enters the film after the long anticipation of the audience in the tavern Paradeisos.4 Her entrance, inspired by foreign cinema – possibly Hollywood – as Mitsos declares, aims to impress her male fans; everything aims to concentrate the attention of the audience on her. The music, the beam light, the darkness around her, the empty stage, offer the artist the atmosphere in which her dancing body can awaken the sexual desire of every man in Paradeisos. In this way, Cacoyannis introduces the viewer to one of the film’s main points; the connection of the sexual objectification of the female body with Stella’s ability to lead her lovers into a ‘masculinity crisis’, and ultimately, desperation, crime and death.5 Stella’s ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’ – to use Mulvey’s term6 – challenges and eventually destroys men from different classes and backgrounds. Despite their antithetical characters, Alekos and Miltos fail to reconcile their manliness first with their addiction to looking at the heroine and second, with her desire to continue to be the object of other men’s gaze. This is clearly stated by both men, with the first admitting to Annetta: ‘I didn’t see her (Stella) for two days and I nearly died’ and the second declaring to Stella: ‘I do not want to share you even with the eyes of others’. However, Alekos’ and Miltos’ demands come in full antithesis to the mentality of the woman they love, whose very name declares her ability to attract the male gaze. As Peckham and Michelakis argue: ‘The heroine’s name is symbolic: Stella is the ‘star’ of Paradise, an object of scopophilic male desire’.7 The main feminist meaning of the film pivots on this point: Stella’s road to emancipation begins and ends with her desire to carry on being the only person to decide how enjoy her body. From a commercial point of view, we can see that Stella’s ability to attract the active male gaze and at the same time to use it to control men, was also chosen as the best way to advertise the film. One of the film’s most popular posters shows men kneeling before Stella and extending their arms to touch her, introducing the average cinemagoer to Stella’s attractiveness before even entering the cinema theatres.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Poster of Stella by G. Vakirtzis. Source: Hellafi Collection (1996: 43)

Moreover, Merkouri’s dynamic performance as Stella impressed foreign critics, with some of them characterizing her as: ‘free woman’,8 ‘a female wrestler’,9 ‘the most electrifying, the most vividly alive actress since Anna Magnani’10 and ‘a girl who makes the Lorens, Lollobrigidas and Bardots look like members of a ladies’ sewing circle’.11 In many cases, Stella reminded reviewers of the role of Carmen and Miltos the role of Don José in the well-known French opera by Georges Bizet.12 Foreign reviewers were also amazed by Cacoyannis’ daring representation of sexual scenes with some of them highlighting the necessity of an X-certificate as well as the potential of the film to attract in its audience filmgoers in search of titillation and sensationalism.13 Greek critics also made special reference to the erotic scenes between Miltos and Stella, the cause of comments such as: ‘[…] they are the most realistic scenes we have ever seen on screen’14 and ‘they will be always remembered as a significant part of the history of Greek cinema’.15 It is also interesting that Merkouri’s filmic image as an emancipated, powerful and dynamic character was perfectly in tune with her real life. Her self-expatriation was followed by a passionate campaign against the Colonels’ military regime. She returned to Greece after the restoration of democracy and made a remarkable career as Member of Parliament and minister of civilization. Thus, this mutual dynamism of Merkouri on and off camera somewhat explains the observation of a foreign critic who after the screening of the film in Cannes

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


declared: ‘I don’t think she was acting. That girl was just playing herself ’.16 Eleftheriotis also highlights the connection of Mercouri’s character and stardom with her role in Stella by stating that: Mercouri’s character and performance in Stella was particularly important and defined a set of connotations that informed the public perception of her image until her death […]. Mercouri’s persona created the image of a powerful and passionate woman who celebrated her sexuality and rejected male authority, with her screen role and public role complementing each other […]. Stella is forever an outsider, a ‘scarlet woman’, whose sexual freedom cannot be accommodated within traditional patriarchal structures’.17

However, it has to be mentioned that Stella’s sexual emancipation was not always received as ‘idealistically feminine’ by international newspapers and journals. In some cases foreign reviewers did not hesitate to characterize Cacoyannis’ heroine as a ‘human animal’,18 a ‘nymphomaniac’19 or ‘sexually obsessed’.20 Even though Cacoyannis tried to portray Stella as a universal prototype of a ‘free woman’, these reviews definitely complicate the rather simplistic message of Stella ‘Glorifying Greece to all the World’, which had been the main slogan of all its advertisements in Greek newspapers, after the huge success in Cannes Festival.21 More precisely, they could be seen as an expression of a controversial reception of an artistically exquisite film – the first and best expression of quality cinema in the history of Greek cinema according to some critiques22 – and the scepticism of some parts of the audience – even in the ‘modern West’ – to appreciate the representation of such an alternative female moral code. Furthermore, the way Stella is shown to attract the male gaze and tease the male audience can be seen as a high art ancestor of commercial films which exploited female nudity in the 1960s. For example, in The Fall, female bodies are shown completely or partially nude in striptease or erotic scenes. As many film analysts have argued, these scenes, beyond their significance in the storyline, were shot to ‘magnetize’ large audiences. This was confirmed by the way the film was advertised. The huge posters of The Fall outside Athenian cinemas showing Rea lying with her back uncovered and accepting Kostas’ kisses, clearly aimed to attract the audience’s attention. Also, in some cases, newspapers used photographs from the most erotic scenes of the film to accompany its review. Ultimately, these scenes became its most characteristic images.23 However, female nudity in The Fall should not be approached as an isolated phenomenon in the Greek cinematography during the period under


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Poster of The Fall by G. Gouzounis. Source: Hellafi Collection (1996: 62)

investigation. It is worth remembering how rapidly it became a commodity from the mid-1950s onwards. Even in cases of films such as The Aunt from Chicago which showed beautiful female bodies only for a few seconds, these images were replicated in advertisements in many newspapers.24 Similarly in Miss Director, whose storyline has nothing to do with nudity, we can watch scenes provoking the audience’s gaze on female bodies, such as the scene depicting the blurry figure of Lila having a morning shower.25 In these terms we can contextualize the female nudity in commercial films as part of its general exploitation in Greek popular culture of the 1960s. Moreover, in The Fall female nudity is often projected as the cutting edge of the modern context which starts to question older gender ideologies. It can be argued that Dalianidis was one of the first directors to realize the huge commercial potential of the controversy between tradition and modernity in Greece. More precisely, Dalianidis offered the audience the ‘safe’ solution of watching, instead of experiencing, cultural transfers, free from the danger of being socially criticized by the largely patriarchal Greek society. This social orientation of cinema led Dalianidis, as well as many other directors, to produce films which satisfied the insatiable appetite of the Greek – male centred – audience to watch beautiful nude bodies on screen. As Rozita Sokou argues about nudity in The Fall, ‘[the spectators] know that these scenes were shot to satisfy their lower [sexual] instincts but they do not leave the dark room, they do not react’.26 In the two most characteristic nude scenes of The Fall, female bodies are shown in order to maximize the dramatic element through the contrast between ‘morality’ and ‘immorality’. The first scene is placed quite early in the narrative at Petros’ house where young people are enjoying themselves

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


amidst one of their crazy parties, away from strict parental control. Female nudity becomes the capstone of this modern party atmosphere which is already vividly coloured with the director’s focus on elements of an imported material culture; alcohol, cigarettes, music, language, flirting, dancing, everything is influenced by Western ideals.27 Thus, Souzi performing a striptease is presented as the zenith of a new ‘morality’ which rejects all the traditional values related to female shame.28 The unexpected arrival of Petros’ parents, right after Souzi has taken off all her clothes represents vividly the continuities of tradition and the inevitable generation gap in Greece during the 1960s. It is also important to point out that the origin of these ‘immoral’ attitudes is not always depicted as being the USA and Hollywood. European cinema and actors also seem to have their own influence on young Greeks. For example, when Bisbiras tries to persuade Maria to perform a striptease he does not refer to American films but to Fellini’s famous La Dolce Vita (1959). Thus, Greece is represented as the receiver of cultural transfers from a variety of origins. At this point, it is worth opening a parenthesis to mention that the main story of The Fall on the emergence of delinquent youth cultures was also influenced by successful European – mainly French and Italian – as well as Hollywood films. This was observed by a series of Greek reviewers29 with the most critical of them describing the film as a simplified ‘translated drama’,30 equally implying its failure to reflect upon a Greek reality. However, this accusation of ‘fakeness’ contrasted the opinion of a more liberal part of the press which praised

Souzi’s striptease (The Fall, 1961)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Daliandis for bringing forward a huge social problem. This was the lifestyle of the ‘Athenian Teddy boys’31 or – according to broader descriptions – of ‘a part of contemporary youth’32, or even more generally put ‘of today’s young people’.33 Thus, The Fall became the core of a discussion on the impact of foreign cultural transfers not only within Greek cinematography as such but also in Greek society. In the second nude scene of The Fall, another female body becomes the object of the male sexual gaze. When Rea’s breasts are in shot clearly if only for less than a second, just before her cruel abandonment by Kostas, the malecentred character of Greek cinema in the 1960s is unveiled. The three gazes that Mulvey talked about (the audience’s, the actor’s and that of the camera) are all male with the female body being highly objectified and eroticized.34 In a following scene, the arrest of the nude woman by three policemen symbolically confirms the strong persistence of tradition which arrives to secure the longstanding morals of patriarchy. In a more indirect way, the power of tradition is also present through the hesitation of young people to support their modern beliefs in the presence of older generations. On the contrary, they are shown being apologetic about their lifestyle, accepting the ‘rightfulness’ of traditional morality. In these terms, the representation of sexual emancipation in The Fall can be interpreted as an early depiction of a rising youth culture which challenged but failed to predominate over older gender paradigms. During the 1960s, not only cinema but also printed media were preoccupied with sexual emancipation and the impending ‘naturalization of nudity’. For example, magazines often included articles referring to hundreds of under-aged Athenian girls who regularly performed striptease in parties and who were proud to do so.35 Moreover, the substantial increase of single motherhood and abortions since the early 1960s brought into discussion the necessity of sexual education in schools.36 Thus, the changes in the filmic representations of the body should not be analysed as an isolated phenomenon but as a part of a general renegotiation of gender relations during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. The daring representation of the body in The Fall influenced not only the future of commercial cinema in terms of content, with a series of films later on including similar scenes, but also the way Greek cinema worked as an industry. Its huge commercial success offered to the Greek star system two of its most popular stars: Nikos Kourkoulos (Kostas) and Zoi Laskari (Rea). Through their

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


popularity they managed to renegotiate hegemonic types of masculinity and femininity respectively. While there can be no clear answer to the question of whether they were the most popular film stars during the period under investigation, what can be safely argued is that for the first time the stardom of indigenous popular images was fundamentally based on the sexualization of their bodies. From the premier of The Fall onwards, both appeared in a huge range of newspapers, magazines and film journals either to give details about their professional or private lives or to advertise various products. In all cases the editors followed the same marketing strategy as had filmmakers in order to attract readers: they demonstrated the actors’ beauty and, thus, commercialized their bodies. To this end, Kourkoulos’ and Laskari’s films often became popular cineromanzi with many of these photographs taken from the films’ most sexually explicit scenes.37 In this way, Zoi Laskari and Nikos Kourkoulos became the secret sexual fantasy of millions of Greeks standing side by side with stars of foreign cinema such as Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Rock Hudson and Marlon Brando who also appeared frequently in the printed press. As many contemporary and later film experts and journalists observed, the majority of the Greek audience in the 1960s would go to watch the next film of these actors, or to buy any printed media including their name, on the basis that this would afford another opportunity to cast a gaze on their sexy images. The huge popularity of Nikos Kourkoulos – the man who ‘substituted male beauty with a macho appearance’38– elicited extreme and even hysteric responses from his female fans during his public appearances. One of his most shocking experiences, as he admits in one of his last interviews, was when a teenage girl asked him for an autograph after the end of an afternoon theatre performance. The girl claimed to be a leading member of the actor’s ‘official’ fan club called ‘Pankourkouliakos’ (named to sound similar to Panathinaikos, one of the biggest football clubs in Greece). When Kourkoulos asked for something he could sign on, the girl smiled and took off her shirt in public asking him to sign her breasts!39 Thus, it could be argued that The Fall offered Greek audiences their original sex-symbols. It was for this reason that Finos Films – the production company behind The Fall and the greatest film company in the country – dared to change the rules of the game in the employment of actors.40 Until 1960, after accepting a director’s plans for a film, it was common policy for film companies to employ the appropriate cast. However, after the huge success of The Fall, Finos Film, to assure its profits, offered for the first time a long term contract to Zoi


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Laskari according to which she would enjoy a generous monthly salary plus extra financial benefits after every film. Thus, Laskari’s superb body became an exclusive source of profit for Finos Film until the early 1970s.41 But while the female body in The Fall and Stella was connected to the advent of an ‘immoral’ modernity, the male body became the reference point to a ‘healthier’ way of life, closer to patriarchal traditions. For example, in Stella the macho character of Miltos is the best striker of Olympiacos, the biggest football club in the harbour area of Piraeus. Cacoyannis’ direction often gives hints as to how Miltos’ career as an athlete honours his traditional masculinity. First of all, the choice of Olympiacos as his team was not a coincidence. As the most popular club around the harbour area of Piraeus, Olympiacos had been associated for decades with the working-classes. Thus, Miltos as the greatest star of Olympiacos, becomes the embodiment of traditional masculinity and a hegemonic model for working-class men. In these terms, the scenes from the Sunday football match showing Miltos leading his team to victory and the framing of the camera on his fit body when he is at the beach with Stella, complete his macho image and highlight an antithesis to Alekos, his upper class rival. Milto’s character charmed not only the Greek film critics – who in some cases did not hesitate to describe him as ‘a purely Greek man’42 – it was also very positively received in the international press and film journals.43 It could be hypothesized that Cacoyannis managed to depict a character that satisfied the needs of audiences to hold on to stereotypical male machismo and redefine themselves according to traditional hegemonic masculinity. The stardom of the male protagonist seemed to match perfectly with this role. As Potamitis argues when analysing Yiorgos Founda’s (Miltos) image as a cinema star: What is emphasised in the critical responses to Foundas’ image as outlined above, even more than the cultural and class connotations associated with his symbolic figure, is the signifying centrality of the physical form of his bodily figure. The significance of this somatic sign to the connotive functioning of the Foundas star image is revealed in the repeated alignment of values such as bravery, pride and honour with physical traits like ‘manly beauty’, ‘unadorned masculinity’, and ‘hard muscles’.44

Similarly to Cacoyannis, Dalianidis also incorporated athleticism as a means of contrasting modernity with tradition.45 Despite being less macho, less popular and less of a ‘working-class masculine idol’ than Miltos in Stella, Petros in The Fall represents a part of middle class youth which, despite living in a modern

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


urban context, continues to respect traditional morals. However, his masculine image is also shaped by his love of sports. Dalianidis shows Petros leading his university basketball team to victory and socializing with his teammates in the changing rooms. This scene shows the morally and bodily ‘healthy’ part of Greek youth and is opposed to the scenes when Kostas, the representative of ‘immoral’ modernity, smokes, drinks and socializes with his friends in nightclubs and billiard rooms.46 In these terms, the representation of male homo-sociality in different places and contexts becomes a tool in the hands of the director to express the contrast between tradition and modernity. Thus, the male body in Stella and The Fall was used to reinforce traditional perceptions of masculinity and it was implicitly opposed to the representations of the female body which was connected to sexual immorality through its erotic objectification. Conclusively, the body has a special significance in all films analysed in this chapter in terms of filmic content as well as a part of film production and marketing. The body should be viewed as an entity which can contribute to the better understanding of the films as texts, art and historical sources. Through its various representations, it became a carrier of social and cultural meanings and expressed quite inclusively the context of negotiation between traditional and modern ideas during the 1950s and 1960s.

Challenging ‘undisputed’ hierarchies It could be fairly argued that the overlapping of the golden era of Greek cinema in terms of productions and popularity with a period of intense social, political and cultural change added colour to the ways cinema reflected upon various social identities. As far as gender is concerned, the tremendous changes in perceptions of masculine and feminine spheres in Greek society were uniquely represented not only in films but also in other forms of popular culture. To this end we will explore the ways films incorporated the upgrade of the role of Greek women in their narrative and the ways in which they related it to the general context of social change. Special attention will be given to filmic elements which unveil interesting ‘grey points’ in the challenges of traditional hierarchies and relations of power between genders. In this way, the contrast between tradition and modernity becomes less intense, providing the necessary space to discuss alternative ways of experiencing, defining and representing gender.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Before scrutinizing the issue of a social crisis, Cacoyannis in Stella introduces the audience to the patriarchal context in which the main story will take place. In the first seven seconds of the film, the camera travels from the dark figures of two women peeking out of their front door towards a company of men relaxing outside the house. This first scene, which is completely irrelevant to the rest of the story, reveals Cacoyannis’ effort to semantically remind the audience of the traditional separation of gender spheres. The women are restricted to the domestic regime casting a secret, silent gaze at the public sphere which men enjoy. While the two women become the subjects of the gaze and men the object, this has little to do with the usual sexual male gaze on female bodies in Greek cinema.47 The women hesitantly peek from the frontiers of their domestic regime. The door of the house physically and symbolically works as a separator of the two spheres, defining and separating the private/female from the public/ male domain. This separation sets the context of the traditional patriarchal order which is soon to be devastated by the dynamic presence of Stella. Moreover, the age of the people shown in this first scene indicates the diachronic persistence of a longstanding patriarchal system. On the one side stand the two women, one younger and another much older, while on the other side sits the male company which consists of a young boy and three men, somewhere around 20, 30 and 50 years old accordingly. It could also be argued that the young boy vividly expresses the masculine exclusiveness of the right of homo-socialization in the public sphere. Perhaps Cacoyannis’ choice to show this scene in the very beginning of the film was an additional way to specify to the audience the thematic core of the film. Generally, we could speak of a first scene which compresses the most fundamental principles of a solid patriarchal system and imports them into an urban context. ‘Female muteness’, the ‘avoidance of male sexual gaze’ and certainly the ‘inactive female sexual gaze’, each of which have been described thoroughly by social anthropologists as gender principles in rural environments, are represented as the predominant paradigm, even in an urban context.48 In this way, Cacoyannis symbolically brings forward a rigid body of traditional gender values which are going to be challenged by his central heroine. Stella will fight and die for her right to ‘speak’, ‘see’ and ‘be seen’. The Aunt from Chicago offers similar views on the issue of female subordination in Greek cities, with Harilaos being the absolute male authority in a house of ‘mute females’. In fact, in this case the unbreakable ‘female muteness’ was reviewed quite negatively by part of the Greek press, since it left so

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


many questions unanswered regarding the character and mentality of the female protagonists.49 However, it seems that this did not bother international reviewers. In its only international review, Sakellarios’ film was seen as ‘[…] a narrative on the merits of a deliberate marriage scheme as it has been viewed in a long while’50 with the reviewer anticipating one or two sequels of the aunt’s hilarious adventures. The issue of ‘muteness’ also appears in The Fall as a continuation of a tradition of male supremacy within the members of a young company. When Kostas tells Maria just before having sex with her: ‘You speak too much. I don’t like girls who speak a lot’ he clearly bids her to return to traditional ‘muteness’ and compromise with a silent sexual objectification. To return to the analysis of Cacoyannis’ film, given that the traditional values regarding femininity revolved around the issue of marriage, and women’s behaviour before and after it, through her persistent rejection of these norms, Stella challenges the whole traditional cosmos. Living without the perspective of marriage allows her to adopt a unique lifestyle fully emancipated from the restrictive code of morality based on female shame. Premarital sexual activity, selecting and changing sexual partners, being constantly the object of male sexual gaze, sexual aggressiveness, living and working in the public sphere and, most importantly, being a master of herself is the code of practise which makes Stella an anomaly for the theoretically predominant ‘pink and blue’ system. As she clearly states in one of her discussions with Maria after Miltos’ marital proposal, ‘He [i.e. Miltos] is just like all other men: an owner; he wants to put a leash around my neck’. In fact, Stella’s lifestyle disregards traditional femininity to such an extent that she enters the hegemonic masculine model of pallikari,51 as Maria points out when Stella announces her decision to jilt Miltos at the church altar. But Maria is virtually the only character in the film that supports and appreciates the ‘Stella phenomenon’. Thus, it could be argued that Stella demonstrated the inflexibility of a social system which sexually determined gender. The social reaction to the alternative character of the central heroine served to illustrate that within the traditional patriarchal paradigm, admirable performances and virtues related to gender could lead to social contempt if they were not embodied by the right sex. As Athanasatou mentions, Stella breaks the code of female shame because she attempts to acquire honour, on her own and not through a legitimate relationship with an honourable man.52 Consequently, by choosing to be an anomaly to the patriarchal system, Stella provokes its reaction. The social contempt she faces is general and massive.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

With her alternative behaviour Stella brings a gender crisis not only to her erotic partners but also to the vast majority of women. Her antithesis first to colleague Anneta, then to Alekos’ sister, and finally to Miltos’ mother highlights a general rejection against her mentality by all women who try to hang on to traditional gender values. As Eleftheriotis notes: ‘Stella shows more contempt for the women who perform their expected roles rather than for men who make such demands’.53 In fact, except for Maria, Stella socializes (almost) exclusively with men. As long as they have no close or erotic relationship with her, she does not pose a threat to their gender hegemony. On the contrary, by maintaining her status as ‘everybody’s girl’ and by providing visual pleasure for them, she confirms their gender privileges as the agents of sexual gaze. However, her charisma and ability to charm men eventually turn into a curse. First, for men who have to cope with the condition of necessarily sharing her in visual-sexual terms. Secondly, for women who view their attachment to the code of shame as a factor that stands in the way of obtaining as much male attention as Stella’s character. An implied jealously or even admiration for Stella by these female characters suggests that their attachment to traditional femininity is not a matter of free choice. On the contrary, it seems as an imposed way of gender self-determination within a still powerful patriarchal system. Perhaps for this reason Cacoyannis avoids building his film on two antithetical parts, one to explain tradition and one to explain modernity like other popular productions did (i.e. The Aunt from Chicago). Instead, he puts the point of ‘anomaly’ in the middle of a patriarchal context with every single scene reflecting upon the open dialogue between tradition and modernity. In other words, Stella lives side by side with what she has rejected until the system tries to re-establish order through her physical elimination. Despite the fact that Stella’s death is undoubtedly the peak of the drama and the most memorable scene for the audience,54 the heroine’s greatest challenge comes well before it. When Miltos announces to her his decision either to get married or to end their relationship, Stella stands before the greatest dilemma of her life. The camera shows the two protagonists facing each other and shifts close-ups from the face of the one to that of the other. What takes place before the eyes of the audience is not a dialogue between lovers but the ultimate representation of a battle where only one can survive; that is either the patriarchal tradition embodied in Miltos or the alternative mentality of Stella. When Stella nods her head to express the acceptance of his proposal, her face portrays the tragedy of her death as a ‘female pallikari’. By becoming a wife, Stella must

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


accept for the first time in her life the conventions of matrimony and become just another part of the established system. This includes the end of what she enjoys more in her life, her career as an artist. Such a move also bears relation to a social reality in Greece during the 1950s; the fact that the vast majority of women who undertook any kind of work in their youth abandoned it after marriage.55 As Miltos’ mother makes clear to Stella: ‘The life of a woman after marriage changes. You will look after your household, your husband and hopefully your kids. You must forget all this [her workplace]’. In these terms, Stella’s unexpected decision to jilt the man she adores on their wedding day is her final answer to the established order. As she clearly puts it: ‘Everybody wants me to change according to their preferences, to make me a lady or a housewife. What do they think I am to be changed? A record player?’56 Stella’s anti-matrimonial beliefs were received quite controversially by the Greek press. Reviewers who had overall positive impressions referred mostly to Stella’s dynamic persona rather than to the social connotations of her opposition to the system. On the contrary, those who chose to criticize the film scrutinized the social and moral dangers from the growing popularity of Cacoyannis’ leading female character.57 Reviews from mainly leftist circles expressed some of the harshest criticisms ever levelled at a Greek film, a reaction which is puzzling in light of its huge success and the warm welcome it received by the largest part of the Greek and international press. These left-wing reviewers tried hard to reduce the glory of Cacoyannis’ success and portray it as a national disgrace. More precisely, Cacoyannis was described as a liar, a blind follower of foreign genres and a foreigner in Greece who arrived to sell an oriental exoticism to Western audiences.58 As Moschovakis argued: We are aware of the foreign audience’s thirst for anything exotic, cruel, daring and passionate. Stella has all this package […]. Cacoyannis with “Stella”, the bouzoukia, the hookers, the knife crimes, the underworld, and the shining direction gained the admiration of some persistent lovers of a lusty Orient.59

Along the same lines, Stella was seen as an ideological prostitute whose twisted mind leads her to a pathetically ‘immoral’ lifestyle, by enjoying men ‘just like men usually enjoy women’.60 Surprisingly, this reception of Stella is also evident in some reviews that were generally positive about the film. For example, she is described as a tragic figure who fails to appreciate the difference between ‘freedom’, which ‘demands more obligations than rights, a determination of social identity and above all a feeling


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

of belonging to a social group’61 and the right to select sexual partners. But these reviewers were no less critical of the character of Miltos. He is characterized as a moral degenerate, an underground mangas,62 a marginalized male figure or, very ironically put, as a ‘pallikaraki’ that is a fake, inadequate, impotent young man, a worthless replica of pallikari, the ideal of manhood. As it is mentioned in Avyi: We are not aware of the changes from the theatrical play but what we see on screen is a pathetic melodrama which presents the most immoral, retarded and outrageous elements of contemporary Greek reality. The dirt comes to the surface, prostitution becomes a flag, the most pitiful crimes of the police reports are praised as symbols of freedom. All these presented in a quite fake manner […] he [Miltos] is a tough pallikaraki one of those who enter a place of entertainment in their cars […]’.63

Miltos’ ‘fake’ manliness was also perceived as threatening to create a negative picture of Greece abroad as a nation of moral degenerates. Moreover, to convince the readers of the validity of their opinion these reviewers referred to rumours that during its premier, the film was booed by members of the audience who perceived it as insulting to their country. In Avyi, the reviewer concludes that this should make Cacoyannis rethink the way he represents the Greek people.64 While this negative reaction of the audience – if true – was generalized and highlighted, very little is said about the enthusiastic fans of Stella not only in Greece but also abroad. Nevertheless, this does not make the considerations and scepticism of leftist reviewers completely invalid. On the contrary, just as was the case when films representing Greek rural environments were shown abroad, part of the international press viewed Stella at face value, trying to taste a Greek ‘primitive’ temperament through it.65 In these terms, the passionate effort by the left-wing press in Greece to undermine the social dimensions of Stella could be viewed as a shield against the dangers of a filmic determination of a nation which could also initiate a ‘self-exoticization’ process if domestic audiences identified with the leading characters. If nothing else, this huge controversy in the reception of Stella confirms the socially influential role of the cinema during the 1950s and 1960s which provoked anxiety among various social or political groups regarding the production, dissemination and credibility of filmic images. While Stella’s antithesis to the system is represented as a personal battle, Miss Director suggests a different, less rebellious method to challenge longstanding gender hierarchies. The leading female character enters the male sphere of

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


top-level paid labour as a result of unexpected luck rather than on an ideological thesis. However, after undertaking managerial tasks in a construction company, Lila, just like Stella in Cacoyannis’ film, is considered as an anomaly to the system. To a great extent, this recalls the structure of professional hierarchies in Greek society of the 1950s and 1960s. More precisely, the representation of Lila’s working environment with young women being supervised by men, is fully in line with the statistical surveys and sociological analyses which suggest that, until the late 1960s, the vast majority of women in the labour market were restricted to the lower posts, and were paid less than their male colleagues. This was happening, not only because of gender discriminations, but also because the former tended to occupy temporary jobs with the perspective of abandoning labour after marriage. Nevertheless, Lila is easily accepted by her colleagues as their superior officer and she does not face the social contempt endured by Cacoyannis’ heroine. The surprisingly warm reception Lila receives in her role as a supervisor of blue-collar labourers, may be better understood by scrutinizing the conditions under which she undertakes this position. From the beginning of the film, Dinos Dinopoulos informs the audience that Lila will substitute her university supervisor in the management of his private construction company. This early statement underlines two important characteristics of Lila’s job. First, the fact that despite her directorial duties, she is still under the male authority of her absent Professor and, second, that these duties are temporary. Lila will carry on being a director only until the return of the actual holder of this position. In this way, Lila is not a permanent threat to a maledominated system, unlike the rebellious character of Stella, but a kind of temporary crisis that is caused by men and virtually controlled by men. As a female director, Lila does not provoke a conflict with the system, rather she uses its mechanisms to ascend professional – and gender – hierarchies. Even the way her colleagues address her, which is also the title of the film, offers a linguistic confirmation of the absence of a crisis in the traditional hierarchy of power. She is called ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ which literally means ‘Miss [male] Director’; however, as an expression this is grammatically incorrect. For a female director the noun should have the feminine ending, thus the correct wording for Miss Director should have been ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθύντρια’. As Athina Kartalou observed, the title of the film brings together pairs of antithetical elements from the protagonist’s character since it juxtaposes non-marital status, virginity, youth charm, frivolity and femininity (the Greek connotations of “Miss”) to the severity, responsibility, social status, success, age and masculinity of the word director.66


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Moreover, the maintenance of the male ending for the word ‘director’ implicitly suggests the continuity of male authority and highlights its temporary replacement by the woman in charge. Thus, it could be argued that despite the narration of a story of a woman reaching the top of the professional hierarchy, the film also represents the continuity of male dominance in labour.67 Despite their differences between how and to which degree they challenge established hierarchies in the public sphere, Lila in Miss Director and Stella in Stella share a very important principle when it comes to the private sphere. Both provoke insecurity in the men they select as their sexual partners. Alekos and Miltos, men who consider themselves as ‘experts’ with women, come to realize that Lila and Stella, accordingly, are very different from the women they have known previously. However, as the storylines evolve, it becomes obvious that neither man is able to bear the peculiarities of a relationship with an unruly woman. Alekos goes through a personality crisis when he realizes that he stands before a beautiful but quite androgynous boss. The contrast between his relationship with Lila and his previous experiences with women is massive. A woman in a high post, impressively educated, serious and workaholic, is simply too much for him. As argued in Chapter 1, during the 1960s higher education was one of the most prestigious qualifications for a person because it opened a whole new world of professional opportunities. For this reason, the male children of a family had far greater educational opportunities than their female siblings, something that resulted in a lower percentage of female university students, especially in sciences. In these terms, Lila’s postgraduate title in civil engineering provokes Alekos’ ‘inferiority complex’ and leaves the young female director ‘overqualified’ as a woman. Conclusively, the awkward position in which the male characters in both films find themselves seems to be related to their weakness to control women who disregard traditional femininity. The contrast between Lila and Viki, Alekos’ bimbo girlfriend, satirically represents the antithetical ways in which modernity can reinforce or break traditional roles, behaviours and hierarchies. It has been already discussed in Chapter 3 how the representation of violence in films connects to that of local identities and how physical power can become a means to ascend masculine hierarchies. We have seen that films whose storyline evolved around the axis of comparison between rural and urban environments, violence seems to influence the distribution and experience of power much more in the former than in the latter. What will be demonstrated next is that

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


in films narrating the advent of modernity in the cities, the representation of violence also plays an important role in the description of urban family systems, gender relations and hierarchies. It can be fairly argued that within the filmic description of a radically changing urban environment, violence becomes a signifier of traditional male dominance and a symbol of patriarchy. For this reason, it is usually used by men only, either against women who must ‘accept’ physical punishments from their ‘male masters’, or against other men, who maintain the right to defend themselves in a fight for physical and masculine survival. Examples of such uses and symbolizations of violence can be found in all films analysed in this chapter. For instance, in Stella, Miltos is a constant threat to the owners of Paradise who treat him like a king because they are so afraid of his violent behaviour. Apart from his two ‘invasions’ into Paradise – in the first he threatens to drive his car in the tavern and in the second he walks in holding a stick of dynamite – Miltos also behaves violently towards Stella when he aggressively tries to kiss her in his car. A similar instance of sexual violence appears in The Fall when Kostas slaps Maria lightly before having sex with her. Nevertheless, Miltos and Kostas, like most characters who behave violently in these films, are not socially or even individually condemned for their actions. On the contrary, Kostas’ ‘bad boy sex appeal’ is reinforced by slapping his sexual partner, who is ultimately depicted as enjoying this treatment. Similarly, violence adorns Miltos’ traditional masculinity as a part of his pallikaria68 which is admired by everybody. Violence as a part of young men’s pallikaria is also expressed in Miss Director through the classic example of two young men, Alekos and Pavlos, fighting over a beautiful woman. According to Kosma, this scene expresses the message of a socially acceptable male superiority over women since the two men clearly objectify Lila by transforming her into a prize. Lila appears to accept and enjoy this object-role as a signifier of her successful ‘re-effemination’.69 However, pallikaria is not the only hegemonic expression of traditional masculinity which appears to be confirmed through the use of socially legitimate violence. Apart from young men, fathers often turn violent, especially when their daughters’ ‘shameless’ actions put their honour in danger. Harilaos in The Aunt from Chicago and Mr Sotiris and Mr Nikolaou in The Fall, who occasionally slap their daughters, are typical examples of such casual violence. In this way, violence highlights the legitimacy of absolute authority by fathers and the survival of pater familias in modern Athens. In these terms, the use of violence by men who try to defend their honour can be approached not


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

only as an autonomous cinematic representation but also as a reflection upon certain social phenomena. For example, many of the ‘crimes of honour’ that Efi Avdela describes are about similar situations in the urban centres during the 1950s and 1960s.70 Filmic violence, however, also expressed much more complex meanings than the continuity of traditional masculine models. When used by those who traditionally have been subordinated, it could demonstrate a deep patriarchal crisis in the modern contexts. For instance, the scene when Stella reacts violently to avoid Miltos’ sexual harassment or when Lila slaps Alekos on a similar occasion, declares that women can also be effectively violent when they have to protect themselves against male sexual aggression. But while these may be considered as somewhat minor incidents or cases in which women struggle to stay within the code of female shame, the absolute expression of violent behaviour by a woman appears in The Fall. Kostas’ murder by Rea has deep literal and symbolic connotations. First of all, the violent behaviour of the female protagonist corresponds to a breaking of limits between gender spheres, since violence stops being an exclusively male privilege. Second, just as Kostas embodied a hegemonic model of modern macho-masculinity through his popularity in the young group, his death signifies the tragic end of a masculine dominance. Thus, Rea becomes a femme fatale who dares to eliminate a leading masculine model which rendered female sexual objectification a way of living. In these terms, Rea’s decision to kill Kostas has a binary meaning. On the one hand, Rea breaks traditional gender spheres which demand that men protect the virginity of their female kin until marriage. On the other hand, she underlines the importance of tradition by helping her sister to stay within the code of

Kostas’ sexual violence (The Fall, 1961)

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


female shame. In this way, Kostas’ murder becomes the ultimate representation of female solidarity as a necessity in the absence of adequate male protection. It could be argued that Kostas’ murder is a crime of honour71 with very similar motives to the cruel punishments of men by morally insulted women during the 1950s and 1960s: the breaking of female shame.72 Dalianidis endows this upset of power relations with a ritualistic character which maximizes the tragic element of the film as well as the feeling of catharsis. Rea dresses in black, puts on a full length raincoat (despite the sunny day), walks decisively to Kostas’ studio and kills him. The tricks of the camera which shifts close-ups from her ‘ghost-white’ face to her black shoes, the ‘hair-raising’ music as well as the protagonist’s dress code are reminiscent of popular patterns from Hollywood productions and film noir. Some of these elements, such as Rea’s full-length raincoat were strongly criticized by Greek critics who insisted that they were awkwardly incorporated in a Greek context and reduced the generally realistic character of the film.73 Nevertheless, Rea’s decision to kill Kostas, which symbolically represents a reversal of gender power relations, is immediately balanced through the process of her trial. Within a context of social change, the court becomes an asylum for patriarchal order in which the absolute power of men is reconfirmed. Rea, who dares to disregard the moral code of female shame in so many ways, sits at the dock to be tried for the murder of Kostas, but also in a broader sense, for her ‘immoral’ lifestyle, which has destabilized the longstanding patriarchal order.

Rea preparing for Kostas’ murder (The Fall, 1961)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

With men shown to hold all the posts of authority, the femme fatale is arrested, judged and convicted by those who traditionally dominate the systems of power. Rea’s lifestyle is represented first as a male failure and then as an individual weakness. In his most rhetorical speech, Rea’s advocate accuses first himself as a failed father and then her mother, insisting that Rea is innocent of all the accusations. Moreover, in this treatment of Rea as the ‘immoral other’ within patriarchy, the Greek Orthodox religion is also implicitly present to support masculine domination. Just before the announcement of the verdict, the close-up of the camera on the holy icon of Jesus Christ above the heads of the judges, shows a divine male figure which accuses and punishes Rea for her actions. In this sense, patriarchy is religiously legalized, recalling the accounts of social anthropologists on rural Greece who spoke about an a priori superiority of the male as closer to God, opposed to an a priori inferior feminine closer to sin and the devil.74 Conclusively, in the last part of the film, Dalianidis draws on all possible means to pass on the ‘positive’ message that any anomalies in the existing system of morals and values will be humanly and divinely punished. To sum up, despite their differences in terms of genre, year of production, and directors, all films analysed here depict patriarchy and male superiority over women as the predominant paradigm in Greek society. However, each director moves beyond this paradigm to show various elements which suggest its upcoming destabilization. Either in the main story or in the background, there are characters or individual behaviours which threaten the absolute dominance of traditional hegemonic masculinities, first over women and second, over subordinated types of men. These ‘points of anomaly’ within the patriarchal context often relate to the female sexual emancipation, the rejection of marriage, women’s professional careers and the use of violence by women. Thus, they come to question established hierarchies and cross the boundaries between gender spheres.

A generation gap in Greece: Women as agents of change The challenge of established hierarchies of power was a very important but certainly not the only aspect of modernity which influenced gender relations in Greece. From the mid-1950s until the late 1960s Greece was hit by a wave of foreign cultural elements which altered significantly the somewhat

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


homogeneous matrix of values, morals and ideas about masculinity, femininity and gender relations. These cultural transfers had a strong impact on almost all aspects of everyday life with fashion, entertainment, consumerism, material culture, labour, parenthood, flirting, education and sexuality as only a few examples. Popular film productions such as Stella, The Fall, The Aunt from Chicago and Miss Director reflected upon these issues. The following discussion perceives the antithesis between tradition and modernity as an observatory from which one can see the complexities of their integration in relation to generational spheres. Thus, the representation of modernity becomes plural, controversial and often problematic while offering a range of ways to ‘digest’ social change. Undoubtedly, the most coherently negative aspect of modernity is represented in The Fall. Even the title of the film expresses a decline in values that used to shape Greek tradition. The moral code of honour and shame and patriarchy are the main entities which the imitation of ‘imported’ lifestyles threatens with crisis. In this general context of change, Dalianidis presents characters of different age, sex and social background and shows how modernity impacts on their mentalities. In this way, the director managed to incorporate into the film various questions that preoccupied Greek society at the time regarding what is moral, masculine, feminine and Greek. At the same time, he increased the identification process with the audience by bringing a range of characters to the screen. This is confirmed by the huge popularity of The Fall which encouraged directors to produce a series of films with similar content. In these terms, The Fall can be regarded as giving birth to one of the most popular sub-genres in the history of Greek cinema, which draws upon the profile of a demonized modernity, and its catastrophic impact on the healthy morals of the Greek Orthodox tradition. For this reason, later scholars of Greek cinema came to refer to this new sub-genre of dramas as tainies koinonikis katangelias [films of social criticism].75 Despite their ‘re-educational’ character, the challenge they posed to traditional values and their aim to shock and alert the audiences about the ‘dangers’ of modernity, these films did not enjoy a positive reception from conservative circles and the church. A possible explanation can be gleaned from reviews published in conservative parts of the Greek press and in magazines controlled by the church. Paradoxically, these circles preferred a ‘hide and seek’ defence against modernity rather than a clear confrontation. More precisely, they stood against any expression of popular culture which would suggest the existence, let alone the predominance, of any alternative to Greek Orthodox code of values.76


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

From the very beginning of The Fall, Dalianidis starts the depiction of the contrast between tradition and modernity. He presents a young company which dedicates its energies to dancing, drinking, smoking, stealing cars and in expressing their sexuality. In other words, living a lifestyle which comes into huge antithesis with the ‘morality’ of the older generation. The way the director depicted the attitudes of the young characters was received quite positively by the majority of the Greek press. In general, the reviewers recognized the work as an honest effort to represent the invisible dangers hiding behind the façade of modernity. The scenes from the parties were commented on as the most convincing parts of the film. With the camera long shots looking at the young company as a homogeneous whole and then shifting with close-ups to alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and the record player, the film was making a clear connection between this group behaviour and foreign material symbols. Furthermore, the focus of the camera on these objects connects them with the unleashing of rebellious behaviours which are responsible for the tragic end of the story. For example, before the abandonment of the naked Rea by Kostas (arguably, the most tragically intense scene of the film) the director exposes in a single scene most of the symbols of the new order. The young company arrives in an isolated part of Athens in a car while drinking imported alcoholic drinks and listening to loud foreign music. This clever depiction of everyday objects in close connection with youth behaviours made The Fall an extremely convincing film. In these terms, the representation of a generation gap with parents trying to re-moralize their children gave The Fall an educational character. However, a closer look at the characters unveils an interesting variety of ways to be modern which complicates the antithetical structure of a simplistic gap between generations. If we take the young company for example, we can see a range of characters that experience the challenges of modernity quite differently, like the ‘good guy’ Petros and the ‘bad guy’ Kostas, for example. Moreover, the treatment of children by their parents also varies from simple advice to violent physical punishment or the application of new approaches like the ‘new trend of psychoanalysis’ as Rea’s father admits to the police officer. Thus, it can be fairly argued that modernity in The Fall, like in most films analysed here, exists side by side with tradition and crosses particular categories of social stratification such as age or class. Despite the representation of different experiences of modernity by male characters and parents, teenage girls like Rea appear to follow new trends in the same ‘blind’ way. In other words, the film seems to lack a female character able to

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


counter-balance this unconditional acceptance of social change, as Petros does in the case of young men. Moreover, the same paradigm is evident in the representation of the older age group. While fathers are depicted as the most attached to patriarchal tradition, mothers always have a more easy-going attitude towards new societal changes. For example, Rea’s mother not only gives silent permission to her daughters to experience modernity, she also questions her husband’s authority at their presence. In fact, she seems to deconstruct patriarchy from within, by claiming her economic independence on the basis that she was given a large dowry by her father. Thus, The Fall also represents an inner crisis of patriarchy since systems which have been invented to reinforce male power eventually turn into boomerangs.77 Consequently, it can be hypothesized that Dalianidis implicitly accuses women as being the main bearers of responsibility for the negative aspect of modernity who attempt to change ‘fully functioning’ systems of power and authority. The unsettling connection of modernity with women and the apparent affinity between men and tradition in The Fall is not an isolated phenomenon in Greek cinematography. In fact, many popular films until the mid-1960s express similar views including The Aunt from Chicago, Miss Director and Stella. As the following discussion will demonstrate, the main embodiments of modernity in all these films maintain a female gender with the women in leading roles questioning traditional views of masculinity, femininity and gender relations. In Miss Director, a significant part of the storyline is dedicated to the representation of modernity as a female-centred phenomenon with the two leading female characters embodying two different aspects of it. The first is Lila who, as we have seen in the previous subsection, through the ascent of her professional career, challenges the male dominance in labour. Opposed to Lila’s dynamic character is Viki, a silly bimbo, ‘super-feminized’ through her constant preoccupation with fashion magazines, parties and sexually alluring clothing. Through this antithesis, Dimopoulos represents two completely different ways to experience modernity, both of which shaped the profile of the modern Greek woman. The former challenges the gender status quo in Greece while the latter rejects the code of female shame but reinforces masculine superiority by combining sexual objectification and weak character. In these terms, modernity does not always pose a threat to established hierarchies of power, it can also be integrated in the existing social structures to develop reshaped versions of female subordination. However, this does not mean that the second version does not pose a crisis to masculinity. The absence of reference to Viki’s lack of male relatives means that we cannot draw safe conclusions about how female


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

sexual emancipation impacts on masculinity, unlike The Fall, in which this impact becomes a core element in the unfolding of the storyline.78 As it has been already stated, The Aunt from Chicago is the only one of the four films analysed here which maintains a dyadic antithetical structure in its narrative. Thus, the narrative evolves in two parts: the first describes the status of a strict patriarchy with Harilaos being the head of a house of females while in the second, the arrival of the aunt from Chicago signifies the beginning of the deconstruction of this model. What is interesting is that this deconstruction does not begin directly from the change of moral values or hierarchies of power, rather it enters through changes in material culture. One of the first concerns of the aunt is how to redecorate the house of her brother, buy fashionable clothes for everybody and bring in imported alcoholic drinks. In one of the most intelligently shot scenes of the film the whole material cosmos of Harilaos’ house is substituted by its modern counterpart.79 In less than ten seconds, Sakellarios shows the old living room sofas replaced by a modern couch, the old-fashioned chest of drawers disappearing to make space for a trendy bar and the classic piano being substituted by a record player playing the latest rock n’ roll hits. This rapid and radical change has its own symbolic connotations. It helps the director to give his own explanation regarding the advent of a tremendous social and material change in the mid-1950s and to anticipate its zenith during the 1960s. As Milonaki states: ‘The bar, the buffet, the Danish furniture and the record player constitute the most characteristic parts of a modern living room as

Harilaos’ daughters before their ‘modernization’ (The Aunt from Chicago, 1957)

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


it was promoted through the cinema and the advertisements of the time’.80 Thus, just as in The Fall, elements of material culture symbolically represent modernity. The fact that the aunt hails from America is not without significance. Apart from offering a world-wide influential pop-culture which invaded most Mediterranean countries during the 1950s and 1960s, the USA was also one of the most popular destinations of Greek immigrants after World War II. In this sense, the arrival of a relative from the USA embodies the full range of cultural and material transfers which entered most Athenian houses during this period. It can be also argued that the aunt’s marriage at the end of the film symbolically expresses the permanent influence and integration of American culture in Greek tradition and contributes in highlighting the image of the aunt as an ‘Americanized agent of modernization’, to adopt Stassinopoulou’s characterization.81 The fact that Harilaos’ family is middle class is another interesting representation of how modernity is being disseminated. Although the film was produced in the mid-1950s, it broke the common representation of modernity as a privilege of the elites and highlighted its accessibility to the lower strata of Greek society. The importance of the social status of the protagonists is also highlighted by its frequent appearance in the reviews of the film, with Harilaos’ family being described as middle class82 or ordinarily Athenian.83 Furthermore, there are strong symbolizations in the way modernity promotes itself and how it is received by the Athenian middle class family. The aunt never imposes a new way of thinking on Harilaos, but by showing politeness and persistence manages

Harilaos’ daughters after their modernization (The Aunt from Chicago, 1957)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

to persuade him to abandon his old-fashioned ideas. In this way, Sakellarios, unlike Cacoyannis in Stella and Dalianidis in The Fall, does not present social change as a conflict between tradition and modernity but as a peaceful dialogue between them. A further important point is that in The Aunt from Chicago the antithesis between tradition in the first part and modernity in the second part, is not of an absolute form. In the background of the main story, dispersed modern elements exist in its first part, just as elements of tradition are present in its second, thus bridging the antithetic dualism in the protagonists’ lives. For example, while Harilaos strictly supervises his daughters to keep them within the traditional code of shame, we can also see couples kissing in public, single men and women socializing in cafes and women buying sexy underwear. Accordingly, after the arrival of the aunt who modernizes the lifestyle of the family, the director shows men in moments of exclusive homo-sociality in coffee houses and the attraction of potential grooms through the demonstration of traditional female virtues, while the persistence of patriarchy is implied in newly married couples. Thus, it could be hypothesized that the The Aunt from Chicago promoted the message that tradition does not vanish through the reformation of social structures, values and behaviours. Some parts of the tradition, especially those related to religion, remain completely unaltered and continue to ensure that Greek men and women are categorized and discriminated against according to their sex. For example, the presence of a sign inside the church where the marriage of Harilaos’ eldest daughter takes place which reads ‘Men’s seats right – Women’s seats left’ confirms this argument. In fact, the position of men on the right and women on the left is resonant of the perceptions of masculinity and femininity in rural Greece as described in the work of Boulay.84 In these terms, the relationship of tradition with modernity becomes much more complex than a simple predominance of the one over the other. Last but not least, Cacoyannis’ Stella offers unique views on social change with the female protagonist at its very centre. From the very beginning of the film, Cacoyannis attempts to make the lower strata of Greek society, and the social changes they go through, synonymous with the Greek people changing as a whole. As the sign visible before Alekos enters the Paradise for the first time in the film reads: ‘All the songs are about love, life and death that mirror the soul of the Greek people. Damn our poverty, long live our pride’. In this way, the bouzoukia tavern ‘Paradeisos’ [Paradise] crosses class boundaries to become the symbolic core not only of proletarian men and women who are the majority

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


of its clients, but also of Greece as a whole. As Peckham and Michelakis argued: ‘Cacoyannis’ Paradise is a “locale” where unthinkable relations can take place; it functions as a mediating space between the upper class world of Alekos and the world of the brash football player’.85 What is really extraordinary in the case of Stella in relation to the other films analysed here, is that the female protagonist becomes a symbol of modernity not only without her slightest intention, but also without even realizing that her way of life might be considered as such. Stella does not imitate general social trends but engages in her personal battle in order to remain independent from the full range of stereotypical social behaviours, be they attached either to tradition or to Western modernity. It could be also argued, however, that Cacoyannis uses various camera tricks and views on the filmic space to distance Stella from tradition and place her closer to modern symbols as the film approaches its tragic end. For example, just before her first meeting with the young Andonis, Stella appears in a scene, alone in her room, staring at her wedding gown. She casts a gaze of disgust and hatred towards it, as if this object embodied the whole male-dominated cosmos ready to celebrate a victory against her. Cacoyannis’ direction maximizes the torrid relationship between the subject and the object of the gaze by showing the first directly through the latter. Stella’s blurry figure through the wedding gown, demonstrates for the last time the heroine’s connection to the world of tradition. Later on, Cacoyannis will use the same technique to connect Stella with modernity. After watching Andonis in the parade and just before meeting him again, Cacoyannis shows the figure of Stella through an opening among dozens of foreign popular magazines which hang on the walls of a street-kiosk. Despite the direct symbolization of this scene, Stella is not identified with mainstream modernity. Just as she never puts on the wedding dress, the heroine neither buys nor even looks at these symbols of modernity which stand right next to her. In this way, Cacoyannis shows Stella half way between tradition and modernity for the last time, a position which is ultimately paid at the highest cost.86 The end of this modern tragedy shows Stella’s murder by her beloved Miltos as her very punishment for tasting her ‘freedom’ in a dual way. Firstly, by becoming the agent of the gaze when watching Andonis marching in the parade and secondly, for becoming the object of his gaze while enjoying herself in one of the most characteristic modern domains: the Athenian nightclub.87


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Stella ‘framed’ with popular magazines (Stella, 1955)

Conflicting typologies: The traditional, the modern and the ‘in-betweens’ As has been described in the previous subsection, the advent of modernity in Greece was not represented in popular cinema as a simple predominance of a superior Western mentality over a ‘backward other’. On the contrary, a comparative view of the four main films reveals their common perspective on modernity as a rapid, path-breaking but also controversial process which initiates a dialogue between imported cultural transfers and a longstanding Greek Orthodox tradition. Through this process, old and new behaviours, morals and values interact to produce a range of ways to perceive gender relations. In these terms, the representations of social change in the 1950s and 1960s should not be approached and analysed as a simple substitution of one homogeneous social system by another, but more as a process of integration and exchange. As the following analysis will demonstrate, the films under scrutiny offer unique views of a socio-cultural synthesis through the representation of characters which experience modernity in quite different ways and paces. In The Fall, one of the most significant elements in the unfolding of the storyline is the controversy between the two male leading characters: Kostas and Petros. Kostas embodies all the positive and negative aspects of modernity. He lives alone, he enjoys himself at parties and he does not have a job but lives on the pocket money he receives from his divorced parents. Despite getting involved in petty crimes and thefts, he is the most popular guy in the young

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


group. Also, his popularity makes him the most desirable male in the company and for this reason he enjoys the admiration of the other young men who consider him their leader. The most characteristic caricature of a person trying to look and behave like Kostas is Bisbiras. However, Bisbiras lacks many of Kostas’ virtues, such as charm over females and a fearless character, thus he remains always a follower of his ‘idol’. In this way, we could speak about a new hegemonic masculinity arising related to its proximity to delinquency and modernity, and which at first sight works as a magnet that draws masculine models away from a traditional core. A closer look, however, makes this antithetical paradigm more complicated since Kostas also embodies some of the constitutive elements of traditional masculinity. For example, while Kostas’ criminal behaviour, leaving early the parental roof and showing disrespect to the older generation contrast the moral code of a pallikari, this is not the case when it comes to his expression of sexuality. Taking into consideration the reports of various social anthropologists on rural Greece, premarital sexual activity is celebrated as a virtue in traditional contexts.88 Thus, in the case of Kostas, female sexual objectification becomes a bridge between modern amoralism and patriarchal tradition. Paradoxically, intense sexual activity before marriage does not accompany the image of Petros, Kostas’ ‘good guy’ counterpart. Despite having all the characteristics that compose the picture of an ideal traditional male youth – such as coming from a family with good reputation, being a student at the university and always being respectful – he is not presented as a serious rival of Kostas as far as sexual ‘scoring’ is concerned. While Kostas has sexual relations with Rea and other girls from the group, Petros simply confirms his heterosexuality by kissing one or two. In these terms, Petros’ way of thinking regarding sexual relations indicates an alternative way of being a modern man. Therefore, it could be argued that modernity is represented in The Fall as a process which can significantly alter traditional perceptions of sexuality and their connection to hegemonic masculinity.89 Nevertheless, the sexual successes of Kostas become a symbol of his dominance over men who do not match these standards of masculine sexual aggressiveness. Petros, as well as his friend Dionisis, are portrayed as subordinated types of men since the macho bad-boy image of Kostas is the one which charms the girls. As Rea puts it in a conversation with her little sister: ‘I like them both. The one is a real man [Kostas], but the other one is a gentleman [Petros]’. But despite saying that she is undecided between the two, Rea consistently selects the ‘real


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

man’ as a sexual partner. However, the end of the film declares the high cost of unrestrained male sexuality suggesting a new hegemonic masculine model. Rea – a humiliated woman – murders Kostas – the embodiment of hegemonic macho-masculinity – and the film closes with the idealized image of Petros walking alone in the streets of Athens. In a broader sense, it could be argued that Dalianidis managed to include a range of characters in his cast who experience modernity in varied ways as far as their gender identity is concerned. According to some Greek critics this wide typology of young people enhanced the neorealistic style of the film.90 It is also worth mentioning that the reviewing of The Fall by all major Athenian newspapers presents an anomaly since reviewers did not usually bother with such mass-consumption films. One explanation for this might be that reviewers exceptionally disregarded its artistic dimension and appreciated its social agency on the basis that its core theme was the dangers of contemporary youth cultures. While The Fall puts young people and their problems at the centre of social change, The Aunt from Chicago focuses more on the challenges which the older generation had to face. Once again, modernity is not represented as a phenomenon which has a monolithic impact on a specific age group, rather we observe parents trying in various ways to compromise with it. This compromise however, does not derive from the acknowledgement of a superior imported lifestyle. It looks more like a means to perform their parental duties in the new context more efficiently. In this sense, Harilaos is caricatured as the last pater familias who hesitates to accept social change and the new ways young people meet, fall in love and marry. However, the success of other fathers such as his friend Xenofon who proudly marry their girls after letting them socialize with young men, together with the arrival of his sister from Chicago, prompt him to reconsider his traditional views on the protection of women. Thus, despite the extended narration of modernity, The Aunt from Chicago does not present a radical change in the traditional gender spheres, but a suggestion of how they can be adjusted to a new context of patriarchy. This ‘hybrid’ patriarchy is especially intense in the similar application of ‘getting-married-techniques’ for the daughters of Harilaos. First of all, none of them meets her future husband after free socialization. In all cases either the aunt or Harilaos cause ‘deliberate accidents’ in order to force a meeting which will not break the traditional code of female shame. Second, during the

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


meetings the aunt constantly tries to highlight the girls’ ‘female virtues’ to build their image as potentially perfect housewives. Last but not least, the selection of grooms according to their profession implies the continuity of separate spheres after marriage with the man identifying with the role of ‘father-provider’ and the woman with the role of ‘housewife-mother’. This recalls the argument of Milonaki that: The aunt does not eliminate the inequalities between Greek men and women but rather creates an illusion of their superficial emancipation. Despite the changes in appearance, clothing and entertainment women keep being subordinated to the male authority of their husband or father.91

Stemming from the above, The Aunt from Chicago represents Greek society of the mid-1950s as continuing to play an interesting ‘hide and seek’ with social change. This could be viewed as a precursor to the conflict between tradition and modernity which follows in the productions of the 1960s. It is worth mentioning that this stage has been more often depicted through the genre of comedy which allows more space for the representation of the positive aspect of reshaped patriarchy. On the contrary, the popular dramas of the 1960s such as Dalianidis’ The Fall put greater emphasis on the tragic element through the failures of modern parents. Moreover, the character of Harilaos, a veteran military officer, as a powerful pater familias of outstanding ethos, could be contextualized as part of a generally positive representation of military forces in post-World War II Greek cinema.92 Greek officers have always been represented as the fearless guards of Greek frontiers against foreign intruders and metaphorically, in The Aunt from Chicago, Harilaos does exactly the same. He tries to protect his country’s Greek Orthodox traditions from a powerful stream of foreign cultural transfers. As Maria Stassinopoulou observed, the positive stereotyping of military corps: ‘[…] reflects, to some extent, acceptance of the armed forces not only as a Cold War necessity, but also as the safeguard of the interests of the archetypical ‘little man’.93 It is worth mentioning that this representation of national security corps was at its height during the colonel’s regime when all popular media were censored in order to build a positive image of the military dictatorship in the public’s perception. To move to a comparison among the four films, Miss Director and Stella differ from The Aunt from Chicago and The Fall in the sense that they do not focus on the conflict between the part of Greek society which accepts modernity and the part which stays attached to tradition. Instead, they scrutinize the controversies


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

and dilemmas that a personal ‘Tradition vs Modernity’ conflict brings to the protagonists. In other words, in Miss Director and Stella the leading characters do not simply accept or deny modernity and then defend their choice; they try to get along with social change by keeping a balance between old and new sociocultural elements. As will become clear, this process of individual integration of social change leads to the genesis of a ‘typology of personalities’ which covers the full scale from tradition to modernity. Lila in Miss Director is the most characteristic example of a person who goes through an identity crisis. This is especially intense in the scene of her telephone conversation with Alekos. At this point of the narrative, Lila attempts to bridge traditional femininity with female emancipation. However, this proves extremely difficult given her strong, independent and sophisticated model of behaviour which is based on her serious work, her administrative post and her postgraduate degree. These three domains (work, higher studies and professional career) were traditionally male and Lila’s invasion of them puts her in an awkward position in relation to her gender identity. In a sense, each of these elements, which constitute a personal and professional higher status in relation to the average Greek woman, deprive her femininity; everybody in her working environment – and even outside it – treats her as if she was a man. When she calls Alekos, Lila tries to measure up to a sexually attractive feminine stereotype. A soft voice, a preoccupation with fashion, an obsession with night entertainment and a deliberate silliness are some of the basic elements that Lila and Athina, her cousin, consider as feminine. Dimopoulos depicts Lila talking to Alekos in a split screen in a state of ‘near- schizophrenic’ crisis. In the protagonist’s most ‘remarkable performance ever’, according to Mesimvrini,94 Lila constantly shifts between her natural authoritarian, clever and workaholic character and that of an artificial bimbo, as she tries to compromise her real self with what she regards as a sexually attractive modern Athenian woman. To use her own words, she tries desperately to ‘shave off ’ the imaginary ‘beard’ which has grown on her chin since her entrance to the traditional male sphere. Lila is persuaded by Athina that this can happen only by adopting a behaviour which exhibits her passiveness, subordination and inferiority to men. Through her metamorphosis, the film emphasizes that the two ways of being a modern Athenian woman are both antithetical and problematic. This point becomes quite clear in the final dialogue between the two protagonists which also summarizes the moral of their story. In this scene, Alekos’ responses express the possibility of an ideal balance between the controversies of

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


Lila and Alekos in a phone conversation (Miss Director, 1964)

modern femininity. On the one hand, his admiration of Lila’s dynamic character significantly challenges the stereotypical perception of female attractiveness with weak personality and sexual objectification. In fact, Miss Director was one of the first popular productions to clearly depict the new version of female passivity as negative. However, Alekos’ need to ascend educationally, professionally and in terms of personality, before expressing his feelings to her, reveals the continuity of the notion that men must be superior to their female partners in order to set the basis of a healthy relationship. Thus, even in more egalitarian terms, the validity of patriarchy remains virtually intact. Moreover, through the constant comparison and contradiction between the terms yinaika [woman] and yinaikoula [little woman] the film hinted at the creation of new ideal models of femininity. Given the significantly increased participation of urban women in the workplace, education and even politics during the 1960s, it could be fairly argued that this kind of model of professionally successful, highly educated and beautiful women did not work solely as a filmic consolation but became a feminine objective for many Greek women.95 It is also worth mentioning that the dynamic personality of Lila is not involved exclusively in an antithesis to the image of Viki as a ‘little woman’. It also contrasts other female characters which in various ways accept the general context of female subordination to men. One of these cases is Athina, who appears as the effeminising tutor of Lila, exactly because her lifestyle shares much in common with that of Lila’s rival. After three divorces she carries on searching for potential husbands who can finance her living expenses as a


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Alekos and Lila arguing about women and ‘little women’ (Miss Director, 1964)

modern woman, in exchange for her ‘subordination’. Another example is Aleko’s mother who, despite the difference in age and status, appears as her son’s servant. Thus, Alekos does not hesitate to yell at her whenever she does not perform her household duties to perfection. In other words, she seems persuaded that in the absence of a father her adult son substitutes him as the absolute authority. Thus, by ‘blindly’ following the patriarchal paradigm, she has nurtured her own master and provider. In these terms, Lila’s revolution against male despotism does not derive so much from her directorial post or her dynamic character as from her ability to be economically independent. This corresponds to the observations of social scientists who noticed that female emancipation in Greece appeared first in families whose female members acquired paid labour.96 However, in some cases the Greek press refused to give Lila the profile of an emancipated woman, because reviewers looked at her metamorphosis into a sexually attractive woman as a signifier of her return to a traditional subordinate role. For example, Mesimvrini mentions that ‘the emancipated woman […] does not know how to combine her professional superiority [i.e. to Alekos] with her need for emotional subordination to him as a pure female.’97 Similarly, Athinaiki argues that ‘she [i.e. Tzeni Karezi] feels the need to think like a woman only when she falls in love with Alekos Alexandrakis’.98 If nothing else, this tendency of the reviewers to eliminate the androgynous part of Lila’s role unveils a monolithical reception of the film. Possibly this originates from a need to silence the social significance of filmic models which divert from the traditional

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


patriarchal paradigm. This tendency is also intrinsically evident at the end of the film, which serves to mute any revolutionary feminist meanings. Lila’s place is not only highlighted as temporary but the female protagonist appears ready to abandon paid labour because she made a fool of herself during the admiral’s party. As Athina Kartalou mentions: It is clear that they [i.e. Lila and Alekos] will live together as a couple, but it is never clear who is going to quit working. In the context of the social matrix of the time, it is Lila who will most likely quit, but today’s audiences may interpret the ambiguity of the ending in different ways.99

Along the same lines, Kosma interprets the implication of marriage at the end of the film as the absolute signifier of the re-establishment of patriarchal order: Thus, Lila obeys to the rules of hegemonic femininity in order to play her socially acceptable and expectable role, that of the wife […]. It should not be regarded as a coincidence the fact that in the narrative it is not clearly stated if Lila will finally resign from her job or not; this is not important at all. What really counts is that she will experience female fulfilment through marriage and avoid the failure of becoming an old maid.100

Similarly to the The Fall, The Aunt from Chicago and Miss Director, Cacoyannis’ Stella offers a range of characters who embody different ways of experiencing modernity. However, it is the only film in which all the relations of secondary characters with modernity are so intensively interrelated to the personality of the leading female character. Stella is virtually and symbolically the axis around which the whole conflict between the old and new in Greek society revolves. Through her unruliness, stubbornness, self-esteem and pride, she acquires a unique lifestyle and crosses particular categories which usually shape the reception of modernity, such as class and locality. In this way, she brings men from completely different backgrounds into a state of masculine crisis. Cacoyannis’ emphasis on the centrality of Stella’s character comes to challenge tradition but without following any mainstream modernity. In these terms, Stella should be appreciated as a film which celebrated the right of being different but without necessarily indentifying with Western ideals. Cacoyannis’ heroine is the absolute alternative to any given way of living and thinking and, according to some foreign reviewers, an ‘archetypical’ femme fatale for men who try to change her.101 Moreover, through her conflict with the ‘world of men’ and her opposition to any stereotypical codes of behaviour, Stella becomes the core element against which masculinities are measured before they are destroyed.102 The crisis she


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

poses to Greek masculinity is highlighted in the film in two distinct ways. In the first half of the film, which ends with Alekos’ death, Stella is the axis around which the contrast between two different types of men revolves. The common desire of Alekos and Miltos to conquer her provides an opportunity for the unveiling of a range of characteristics which shape two antithetical masculinities. The first is embodied by Alekos, a tame, emotional, upper class man, while the second is represented by Miltos, a fierce, fearless, ‘macho’ footballer coming from the harbour area of Piraeus. In this way, a peculiar triangle between the two men and Stella is created, the origins of which can be traced quite early in the film. From his first conversations with Stella, Alekos’ sensitive character illustrates his upper class status as a real gentleman, which stands in direct opposition to Miltos’ working-class macho profile that unfolds shortly after. Despite the clearly antithetical nature of these two types of masculinity, the superiority of the one over the other is not evident until Miltos’ prevalence is tragically declared by Alekos’ death; the starting point of the film’s second part. In that second half, Stella’s function changes dramatically, as she is no more the core element that highlights the antithesis between Alekos and Miltos. On the contrary, she becomes a bridge between them since to a degree their common failure to conquer her, followed by her destructive influence upon them, serves to overwrite their lifestyle differences. By the end of the film, Alekos and Miltos are both defeated by Stella’s unruliness while Stella is punished by death for her transgressive moral code. Having assumed an openly oppositional stance to the patriarchal system, Stella now has to pay for it. One could argue then that the interaction between the three main characters carries with it a constant negotiation of gender and class identities, especially over questions around power relations and morality codes. In other words, the two men’s fight for the heart of an unruly woman becomes the pretext for the representation of the struggle of two different types of masculinity – defined largely by class differences – which eventually leaves each of the characters defeated. Furthermore, while Stella represents a revolution from the existing stereotypes of female behaviour, Miltos represents a type of Greek masculinity that is closely related to tradition. He is portrayed as fearless, strong-willed, aggressive, and as enjoying popularity with his peers. His entry point to the narrative illustrates clearly these elements of his masculine self. Stella meets Miltos for the first time in a traditional wedding party at the working-class area of Piraeus. A group of male dancers celebrate traditional masculinity by performing acrobatic

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


dance steps as Miltos enters the scene.103 A camera close-up makes explicit his slight intoxication, indicative of the fact that he has reached the state of kefi, the main purpose of male socialization and a symbol of traditional masculinity.104 In this respect, Miltos’ embodiment of traditional masculinity seems to function as a balancing act for the patriarchal anomaly that Stella represents in the film, temporarily negating the threat of femininity that has dominated the narrative since the first shot that featured her. Miltos’ character, however, never acquires the centrality the main heroine occupies in the narrative, which in effect allows Stella’s threat to continue to dominate the story. From Miltos’ entrance scene until Alekos death, Cacoyannis presents a comparison between the ‘gentleman’ and the ‘real man’, which recalls the antithetical representation of Kostas and Petros in The Fall. However, in the case of Stella, the comparison between the two leading male characters is accompanied by an antithetical material symbolism. On the one hand, Alekos, as a high class bourgeois with a tender and sensitive character, is closely related to the piano he offers to Stella as a present. On the other hand, the viewer is encouraged to associate the risky, fearless and provocative

The first encounter of Stella and Miltos (Stella, 1955)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

character of Miltos with the car he owns. As Peckham and Michelakis argued, the car intimates rebellious youth, speed and danger. These were characteristics that were mythologized in the movies of the 1960s, and were symbolized, more poignantly perhaps after James Dean death in 1955, the year that Cacoyannis’ film was released.105

Moreover, Alekos’ death caused by a car is another symbol which highlights his masculine defeat by his working-class rival.106 Although never acquiring the centrality that it has in The Fall, the comparison between the two men becomes a tool in the hands of Cacoyannis to add colour to the revolutionary lifestyle of his heroine. By consciously refusing the marital proposals of Miltos and Alekos, Stella highlights her decision to live as a free woman beyond class, local or national boundaries, a choice that charmed the greatest part of the Greek and international press.107 This becomes even more explicit when she proudly declares her anti-matrimonial beliefs to Alekos’ sister and Miltos’ mother.108 In the first case, Stella takes the part of the world she is coming from, that is the working-class people, the people of bouzoukia music with which she has been always identified. This antithesis between social statuses is intelligently depicted by Cacoyannis with long camera shots on the poor neighbourhoods of Athens where Stella lives.109 With these shots, the director shows that the largest percentage of the Athenian population does not enjoy modern amenities, and thus, Alekos’ sister appears as an intruder to this environment. In these terms, although based on a personal ideological view, Stella’s refusal to enter the world of the elites also highlights the lower classes’ ‘heroic’ profile with which presumably the majority of the audience would have easily been able to identify.110 However, when it comes to Miltos’ mother, who also belongs to the workingclass, Stella’s refusal of marriage expresses the value of personal choice. With her second refusal – this time silent – to succumb to male domination through marriage, Stella completes her profile as a woman who claims the right to enjoy her femininity beyond the conventions of patriarchy. For this reason she heroically disregards the words of her ‘future mother-in-law’ which prophesize her tragic end: ‘I come from Crete and I always speak straight […]. My son is a good man but he can kill or be killed in his effort to make things work in his way’. In this conversation, Crete as a place of origin, whose geographic position in the periphery of Greece delayed the invasion of cultural transfers, includes a

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


Stella vs Alekos’ sister (Stella, 1955)

whole packet of morals and values related to female subordination. Thus, it is deliberately mentioned here to demonstrate Miltos’ traditional way of thinking and emphasize Stella’s decision to stand out of patriarchy.111 All these messages are highlighted through the death of Stella at the end of the film, which is widely accepted as one of the most intense scenes in Greek cinematography. At this point, Cacoyannis reaches the zenith of the tragic element. He portrays Stella’s murder as a ritualistic duel, a superb hybrid of ‘Classical Greek tragedy and American Western’112 in which both perpetrator

Stella vs Miltos’ mother (Stella, 1955)


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

and victim defend their beliefs for the last time. The close-ups of the camera on the protagonists reveal the clearness of their thought.113 Despite being under the influence of alcohol, Miltos seems to be aware of the crime he commits. He obeys the unwritten laws of honour, while Stella walks stoically to her death to become a martyr for the right of individuals to diverge from traditional gender roles.114 Stella’s free will makes possible Cacoyannis’ liberation from conventional melodramatic patterns which characterized almost all commercial dramas in Greek cinema of the time.115 Importantly, Stella is not defeated by fate; instead, she approaches it consciously. Also, Stella’s death maximizes the film’s tragic element which led many foreign reviewers to characterize it as a modern tragedy and Cacoyannis as a student of Sophocles.116 Moreover, the last long shot of the camera highlights the presence of the patriarchal society and its role in this crime. It portrays a crowd surrounding the crime scene, which suggests symbolically that the main party responsible for Stella’s murder is not just Miltos, but Greek society as a whole. For Cacoyannis, this was the first – and arguably the least explicit – scene in which he presented a cruel aspect of Greek society.117

Stella facing her death (Stella, 1955)

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


Last but not least, the connection of the main characters with cultural, class and local backgrounds moved beyond the cinema screens and provoked momentous discussions in the Greek press. On the one hand, reviewers publishing in centre-right newspapers praised Cacoyannis and Manos Hadjidakis, the music composer of the film, for managing to represent convincingly the social, moral and mental context of the world of bouzoukia.118 In some cases bouzoukia music was received as a symbol of Greek tradition and acquired a national character.119 On the other hand, Stella’s murder by a working-class hero, as well as the depiction of working-class people enjoying themselves in the infamous bouzoukia, had a strong impact on the ‘heroic’ image of the Greek working-class. This provoked the furious reaction of reviewers publishing in left-wing newspapers and cinema periodicals. These reviewers applied strong criticism to the film, praising only the acting performances by Melina Merkouri and Yiorgos Foundas. Of course, this criticism included its music which was not seen as a part of Greek tradition but as a trademark of a lower class subculture. For example, Moschovakis argued: Cacoyannis’ aesthetic identification with the bouzoukia composer Manos Hadjidakis […] is at least disappointing. Just like him [Cacoyannis] he [Hadjidakis] will manage to touch only the aesthete […]. Manos Hadjidakis might be a skilful composer of the pathetic kind of music he serves but his music is horrible when it comes to accompany an image.120

Along the same lines Avyi mentioned: She [Stella] sings sadly and pathetically in the ‘tavern’ [magazi] the bouzoukia songs of the young composer Manos Hadjidakis […] he [Cacoyannis] serves to the foreigners a fake folklore picture of Greece which presents the TurkishAlbanian music genre of bouzoukia as part of the Greek culture […].121

All these discussions highlighted the very controversial social meanings of representing bouzoukia on the silver screen. In Stella, bouzoukia was portrayed as the place where traditional masculinity is celebrated with men reaching the state of kefi and dancing zeimbekiko, the ultimate male dance. These performances of manliness are exactly what Stella loves most in her working place; however, she can enjoy them only as long as she is single. In addition to this, in bouzoukia Stella can be at the centre of male attention which she adores. As she says to Alekos: ‘[To be happy] I just want to be free to dance, sing and watch young men [pallikaria] fighting over me’.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Nevertheless, as becomes clear from the international reviews of the film, the complex ethical and social dimension of bouzoukia was not explicit to foreign audiences. This should have been more or less expected since bouzoukia can be regarded as a unique socio-cultural domain, largely resistant to any kind of representation. Thus, Stella was conventionally described by foreign reviewers as a ‘café’,122 ‘nightclub’,123 ‘tavern’,124 or ‘cabaret’125 singer. These definitions included many partial elements of the bouzoukia atmosphere but certainly could not provide a complete picture of it. Moreover, in the films of the 1950s and 1960s, bouzoukia were largely associated with the working-classes and tradition, as opposed to modern clubs and foreign music which were perceived as signifiers of the upper classes and modernity. In Stella, Paradise moves beyond idealistic representations of tradition and is depicted as the spatial domain of a working-class subculture. This subculture is closely related to the rembetika, which, represented a musical tradition associated with the underclass of refugees, sailors and petty thieves.126 As it happens, a number of marginalized behaviours are brought centre stage in Paradise and as a result they destabilize traditional hierarchies, including of course gender ones. For example, in bouzoukia men are shown measuring up their masculinity in ways that often lead to violence (i.e. Miltos enters Paradeisos holding a stick of dynamite) while the women who attract the male attention are primarily those who abandon the moral code of shame by smoking, drinking and expressing their sexuality (i.e. Stella). The latter could also be regarded as a depiction of modernity ‘from below’ which invaded in the 1960s the lives of the elites, together with foreign cultural transfers arriving through the media, tourism and popular culture. As was the case with other films that had significant success outside Greece, the criticism of Greek reviewers also stemmed from the assumption that a negative representation of the working-classes would have a negative impact upon the national image of their country. This explains the fact that Stella had both a flattering and a negative reception in the Greek press. The first related to its high-quality and attractive theme and the second to the depiction of Greece as an exotic, cruel and lusty ‘other’ within the modern West.

Rethinking masculinity and modernity If we approach the four films analysed here from a comparative perspective, much can be said regarding their differences in terms of direction, audiences,

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


genre, storyline and production process. Inevitably, these differences meant that each film acquired a different perspective on the issue of modernity (comic, tragic, educational, neorealistic etc). However, their common preoccupation with this issue indicates the necessity to incorporate discourses about the deep social change as a means of increasing their product value in Greece and abroad. In this way, cinema expressed various theses about the process of integration between modern and traditional elements in Greek society. Given the extreme popularity of cinema and its significant influence on other forms of popular culture, it becomes a valid historical enquiry to investigate the social messages of films. The conclusions of this chapter are structured as a comparative discussion of various representations of Greek society which informs the deconstruction of their production and ‘consumption’ process. It can be fairly argued that the four films, despite their different views on modernity, provide very similar insights into its origins. They suggest that modernity has a clear Western character which has been imported to Greece either through popular media and material culture (The Fall, Stella) or through the personal experience of modernity in the West (Miss Director, The Aunt from Chicago). In all cases, nevertheless, there are also implications for a domestic origin of social change. This relates to the failures of the longstanding patriarchal model to be tolerant of less hegemonic lifestyles and to adjust to the needs of a changing society. However, while in general the authority in the private as well as in the public sphere is represented as staying in male hands, the failures of the patriarchal system are attributed first to the female characters and then to the male. Women are charged with the intention of upgrading their role and modernizing gender relations, a move that serves to destabilize a quite ‘solid’ gender hierarchy. For this reason, they are depicted as closer to the origins of new trends such as modern magazines, cinema and foreign material culture than their male counterparts. On the one hand, this somewhat paradoxical thesis could be interpreted as a reflection of the deep social change in Greek society in a period when women began to ‘invade’ traditionally male spheres on their way to gaining full emancipation. On the other hand, it could equally be evaluated as a further expression of male domination in the Greek film industry, during a period when men controlled all steps of the production process. Also, in a still largely patriarchal context, it could be fairly argued that even the audience’s taste was male-determined with the decisions about ‘who is going to watch which film’ frequently taken or approved by men.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

Furthermore, it is important to note that the final male control over the representation of Greek society in cinema was in the hands of the censorship committee. The censors would never allow the screening of a film focused on the weaknesses of the Greek Orthodox code of values, a situation that reached its most extreme proportions during the Colonels’ regime.127 This also explains the positive depiction of institutions of power such as the police, the military, politicians, the judicial body and the church. Despite these authorities being male dominated in a social context of patriarchal crisis, filmmakers during the 1950s and 1960s rarely represented them as responsible for the negative aspects of modernity. On the contrary, they appear as guards of the patriarchal tradition who raise a shield against an intruding Western immorality. It is also worth mentioning that apart from the censors, the church also tried to control the influential role of the cinema. This was attempted in two ways. First, by repeatedly demonizing cinema as a morally corruptive medium and secondly, by publishing periodicals which reviewed all new productions and categorized them according to a scale of ‘suitability’. Films with suspicious content, such as those belonging to the genre of ‘social criticism’, would immediately fall into the ‘category X’ since they were considered as ‘dangerous’ to the morality of the Greek Orthodox audience. For all these reasons, filmmakers targeting large audiences were ‘obliged’ to produce films that were less critical of male failures and more sceptical towards the challenges of a ‘female modernity’. In this sense, it is not a surprise that most criticisms of the established patriarchal system came from directors who did not aim exclusively at Greek audiences. Cacoyannis is a clear example of such director. First with Stella (1955) and then with A Girl in Black (1956) and Zorba the Greek (1964) he challenged many of the unquestioned hierarchies of power in Greek society. Indeed, Stella offered a unique representation of modernity as a product of a domestic patriarchal crisis and not simply as an imported modus vivendi. Just like Dimopoulos’ Miss Director, Stella focuses its narration on the tendency of Greek society to sexually determine gender by portraying a woman who acquires a behaviour that was more closely linked with male identity than with female morality. More specifically, one could argue that Stella’s way of life resembles that of the pallikari, the ideal of manhood in rural societies according to social anthropologists.128 By portraying Stella in a similar light, the film exposes those societal mechanisms which immediately marginalized any individual who tried to adopt such a moral code, since behaviours that were

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


considered as honourable for men were socially condemned when adopted by women. It should also be added that, while this has been often a central message in the representations of rural environments during the late 1950s and 1960s,129 Stella once again introduces it as part of urban societies. Taking into consideration the international success of Stella, which was also the first Greek film to sell its copyrights to an international company (UniversalInternational),130 and the foreign reviewers who praised Cacoyannis for his daring representation of the darker site of the Mediterranean gender models, we could speak of an extremely interesting process of urban exoticism. For this reason, despite the widely accepted artistic quality of Stella, the reaction of the Greek press was not always flattering regarding its content. It is also worth mentioning, however, that Cacoyannis himself never claimed to direct films which were reflections of Greek society, but films that would express his personal opinion about it. As he declared in an interview in 1960: I do not categorize my films under any film school. I don’t know if I belong to realism or somewhere else. Is Stella for example realistic? I do not aim to copy life and paste it into films but to express my personal view on certain issues.131

Along the same lines, three years later he stated: There is one fundamental consideration in film-making. That is identification with the subject […]. I need a subject close to the kind of society that I know and experienced during my many years of living in Greece and living abroad and travelling and so on.132

However, Cacoyannis’ statements should not give the impression that he was not influenced by foreign cinema cultures. On the contrary, his long stays outside Greece gave him a unique chance to experience and study European and World cinema before he came to direct his own films. Greek and foreign reviewers often referred to the influences of Italian and French cinema on Cacoyannis’ direction when analysing Stella.133 The preoccupation of the Greek press with the consequences of a ‘negative’ representation of Greece within the country and abroad, provides interesting insights into the social agency of cinema. This observation moves the discussion far beyond the comparison of films with any kind of social ‘reality’ which often appeared at the centre of film reviews. Especially in the cases of dramas such as Stella or The Fall, their relation to the social reality was crucial to their reception


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

by the press. If nothing else, this expresses the anxiety of a large part of the Greek press to control or manipulate the representation of a tremendous social change. However, this proved incapable of stopping or reversing the representation of a crisis in patriarchy. Modernity in Greek popular productions during the 1950s and 1960s was not simply confined to the main story as conservative circles believed. What the camera was capturing behind the protagonists was a rapidly changing material culture; nobody could argue that the modern nightclubs, the cafes, the music, the imported alcohol spirits, the mini skirts or the Teddy boys were set up to portray a fake representation of Greece. These ‘background details’ confirm the argument put forward by Kartalou that in Greek cinematography even films with unrealistic or exaggerated scenarios can function very effectively as carriers of social meanings.134 By looking at the four films comparatively in terms of year of production, genre and popularity it can be safely argued that from the mid-1950s onwards the representation of social change gradually became one of the most lucrative themes. In dramas, modernity was usually discussed as an intrusion upon a traditional context which was coming into a clear conflict with longstanding morals, values and gender hierarchies. In comedies, this conflict was only the starting point of the storyline which usually led to a bridging of rigid antitheses and promoted messages of integration of Greek and foreign elements. Despite their differences in the discussion of this issue, the films analysed here share two major points in common. First, they represented modernity not as isolated phenomenon influencing only one part of the Greek society, but as a chain reaction transcending gender, class, age or local boundaries. This long and complicated process takes Greek society away from a virtual stability to bring it into a state of ‘moral panic’.135 Second, despite the depiction of intense social change, they also represented various continuities with tradition. In fact, in most cases the patriarchal core of Greek society remains either virtually intact or reshaped to acquire a modernized profile. In these terms, it would be much more precise to speak of an integration of a Western modernity into a Greek patriarchal context – which was already starting to be questioned from within (Miss Director and Stella are bright examples to this) – rather than assume a mere domination of foreign cultural transfers over the established social paradigm. This is also confirmed by the representation of urban characters as preoccupied with rural social patterns, such as the constant check of the code of honour and shame by an ‘omnipresent

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


neighbourhood’.136 For example, Harilaos in The Aunt from Chicago, orders his daughter to close the curtains so that nobody can see them dancing rock n’ roll,137 Petros in The Fall reminds Rea of her bad reputation while Alekos’ family in Stella are constantly preoccupied with what people would say about his relationship with a bouzoukia artist. Stemming from the above, this complex process of integration of old and new elements gave birth to a range of film characters who experienced modernity in quite different ways. Career women, silly bimbos, Teddy boys, Teddy girls, unruly women, confused pater familias are only some examples of such characters. Given this variety it is difficult to speak of a mainstream perception of modernity in Greek popular films. The popularity of stories revolving around the issue of modernity was not restricted to films; other forms of popular culture also played host to its representation. In fact, three of the four films analysed in this chapter – with The Fall being the only exception – were transferred to the screen after a successful reception in the theatre. Moreover, since the early 1960s films discussing modernity, and especially the films which belonged to the sub-genre of ‘social criticism’, appeared regularly in cineromanzi. Thus, we could speak of an ‘insatiable appetite’ on the part of Greek audiences to be entertained by looking at various aspects of the advent of modernity which extended far beyond the silver screen. In other words, cinema was undoubtedly the most popular, but certainly not the only media which discussed modernity during the period in question.

Notes    1 Details of the four main films analysed in Chapter 4 can be found in the Appendix.    2 Social anthropologists gave a similar description of a man’s duty to protect his related females from any kind of premarital or extramarital sexual activity. See Chapter 1.    3 This is especially evident in the attraction of the last groom at the beach.    4 For a detailed analysis of Stella see also Hadjikyriacou (2011).   5 Cacoyannis’ visual isolation of Stella seems to emphasize the exceptionality of her character within a traditional social context. Similar isolation in the central heroine’s first scene can be observed in A Girl in Black when Marina appears walking alone in the streets of Hydra (see Chapter 3). Thus, it could be hypothesized that in both films Cacoyannis provides early symbolizations which imply the exceptionality and/or marginalization of his protagonists.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

  6 Mulvey (1975).    7 Peckham and Michelakis (2000: 73).   8 Film Français (22.02.1957).   9 Evening Standard (18.08.1956).  10 Star (17.08.1956).  11 Daily Herald (17.08.1956).  12 Saturday Review (16.03.1957); Daily Telegraph (18.08.1956); Films in Review (April 1957); Daily Film Renter (13.08.1956); Financial Times (20.08.1956); Films in Review (April 1957).   13 ‘Packs enough sex into its 94 minutes to last six normal films … children cannot and maiden aunts should not be admitted’ (Daily Herald 17.08.1956)    ‘An X certificate indeed but a film which would know how to snigger’ (Times 20.08.1956).   ‘[Stella] would definitely interest the sexation-seeking portion of the public’ (Films in Review April 1957).  14 Apoyevmatini (22.11.1955).  15 Akropolis (22.11.1955).  16 Daily Express (17.08.1956). See also the analysis of Potamitis (2003: 224–31) on Mercouri’s stardom and connection to Greekness.   17 Eleftheriotis (2001: 157, 159–60).  18 Cinema (15.08.1956); Evening Standard (18.08.1956).   19 ‘It is about a nymphomaniac cabaret singer and her assembly line of muscular boyfriends’ (Daily Herald 17.08.1956).   ‘She [Stella] needs love like a drug and can never resist having another man for the road’ (Evening Standard 18.08.1956).    ‘Whether she actually loves men or whether she is a nymphomaniac is hard to make out’. (Variety 01.05.1957)  20 Times (20.08.56); Spectator (24.08.1956)   21 See for example the advertisements of the film in: Athinaiki (21.11.1955); Eleftheria (20.11.1955); Vima (20.11.1955). Also, the film journal Kinimatografikos Astir (30.11.1955) mentioned: ‘It is the first full length film which transcended the borders of Greece and enjoyed a general admiration in Canes. The production of such high quality film is an honour for Greece […] it is the best film ever of our country’. Also, according to Kathimerini (23.11.1955), Stella was advertised more than any other film before in Greece.  22 Kinimatografikos Astir (30.11.1955). See also Ethnos (22.11.1955): ‘… this is the best film of Greek cinema until now… It’s our duty to celebrate the entrance of our film production in the field of good, quality cinema’.   23 For such photos see Ethnos (05.12.1961).

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


  24 Such advertisements can be found in: Akropolis (15.12.1957); Athinaiki (16.12.1957); Kathimerini (15.12.1957); Nea (14.12.1957).   25 Kosma (2007: 114).  26 Kathimerini (06.12.1961).   27 The scenes from the party were one of the points that the critics appreciated most. They were realistically shot and reminiscent of the ‘real problems’ which the Greek society faced (Ethnos 05.12.1961).   28 For female shame see Chapter 1. In Law 4000 (1961), another film of ‘social criticism’ by the same director, similar sexual voyeurism is succeeded through the viewing of soft-porn pictures by all the members of a young company.  29 Akropolis (05.12.1961); Apoyevmatini (05.12.1961); Athinaiki (05.12.1961).  30 Kathimerini (06.12.1961).  31 Avyi (06.12.1961).  32 Ethnos (05.12.1961); Mesimvrini (04.12.1961).  33 Vradini (04.12.1961).  34 Mulvey (1975).  35 Athinaia (10.11.1965).  36 Pantheon (19.01.1966).   37 See for example the photos from cineromanzi of the films Stefania, 1966 and Ilingos [Vertigo], 1963 in Chapter 2.   38 Soldatos (1). For Kourkoulos’ popularity, stardom and sex appeal see also Kartalou (2005: 259, 267–9).   39 Nikos Kourkoulos’ interview to Nikos Hadjinikolaou in the TV show Enopios Enopio [Face to Face], 1994.   40 According to Kartalou (2005: 169), under Finos Films appeared approximately the 10 per cent of the annual Greek film production in the early 1960s. This percentage doubled by the end of the decade while at the same period the company produced more than 50 per cent of the most popular Greek films.   41 As Paradeisi (2002b: 151, 160) observed, the sub-genre of films of ‘social criticism’ aimed to exploit the sexuality of the female protagonists was played for the most part by Zoi Laskari, the actress who embodied sexual emancipation in Greek cinema. The way Laskari’s image was connected to sexuality is also evident in the fact that the Greek people nicknamed her ‘The body’.  42 Kathimerini (23.11.1955)   43 ‘All foreign audiences admired his masculine appearance and skilful play’ (Akropolis 22.11.1955).   44 Potamitis (2003: 254).   45 The connection of hegemonic masculinity with athleticism was very well presented in Oi Assoi tou Yipaidou [The Football Stars], 1956 which described the


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

lives of Greek national team footballers. Many of the actors were the real athletes, playing themselves.   46 Athanasatou (2001: 254).   47 It could be safely argued that post-civil war Greek cinematography was largely based on the male gaze on female bodies. Especially during the 1960s the stardom of many popular actresses e.g. Zoi Laskari, Martha Karayianni and Rika Dialina was built upon the sexualization of their bodies.   48 On this issue see Chapter 1.  49 Avyi (18.12.1957). Milonaki (2004: 196–7) also characterized Harilaos’ daughters and wife and almost mute characters who remain exclusively attached to the domestic space.  50 Motion Picture Herald (03.09.1960).  51 For pallikari see Chapter 1.   52 Athanasatou (2001: 184).   53 Eleftheriotis (2001: 159).   54 Miltos’ line ‘Stella go away, I am holding a knife’ is still a popular joke in contemporary Greece.   55 On female labour before and after marriage see Chapter 1.   56 According to Athanasatou (2001: 189) this statement expresses a message of a diachronic female subordination across classes in Greek society.   57 ‘…unfortunately the victims of Cacoyannis’ boldness will be many…’ Avyi (23.11.1955).   58 ‘Mr Cacoyannis is still a foreigner in our country and owns to study better the Greek reality which may include the world of bouzoukia but is certainly not restricted to it’ (Epitheorisi Technis December 1955).  59 Ibid.  60 Athinaiki (21.11.1955). See also the reviewer’s comments in Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955): ‘Do they [Cacoyannis and Kambanellis, the creator of Stella in the theatre] believe that this cheap bimbo they presented, the woman who doesn’t want to marry in order to carry on enjoying her life, is a character? Do they really think that her [Stella’s] effort to protect an outrageous, a twisted immorality would be welcomed or admired? Or that her stabbing to death by a tramp makes the film a tragedy?’  61 Athinaiki (21.11.1955).  62 For mangas see Chapter 1.  63 Avyi (23.11.1955).   64 ‘We’ve been told that some members of the audience in the premier booed the film. This should teach something to Mr Cacoyannis if he wants to be something more than a director of commercial films’ (Avyi 23.11.1955).

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


  65 ‘[the film] has also captured the atmosphere and local colour of modern Athens’ (Films in Review April 1957).    ‘Tale of Greek passion’ is the title of the review in Variety (01.05.1957).   ‘Michalis Cacoyannis’ first film, the light and engaging Windfall in Athens showed considerable Italian and French influences. Stella with its fiercer passions and greater intensity of atmosphere seems a film all together more characteristic of its country of origin’ (Monthly Film Bulletin, October 1956).    ‘The inevitable consequence of this dual attitude is her death at the hands of a man, as primitive as herself […] It is a valid picture of the life of a modern city where passions still run high’ (Cinema 15.08.1956).    ‘[…] for sheer animal vigour its beats any film in London at the moment’ (Spectator 24.08.1956).   ‘Cacoyannis touches life with every square inch of his screen’ (Evening Standard 18.08.1956).    ‘Savagely realistic love story set in a back-yard café in modern Athens […] good Greek atmosphere and plenty of lusty gaiety balance its tragic theme’ (Kinematograph Weekly 23.08.1956).   66 Kartalou (2000: 109).   67 Paradeisi (2002a: 126), seems to have reached similar conclusions after the analysis of two other films which also show female dynamic characters i.e. Modern Cinderella (1965) and Tzeni-Tzeni (1966). As she states: ‘Their [i.e. the female protagonists’] dynamism, superiority and the temporary gender role reversal do not lead to a substantial questioning of their traditional gender role but to their rehabilitation within the patriarchal order’.  68 Pallikaria is the code of moral and physical qualifications which makes a young unmarried man an ideal of manhood.   69 Kosma (2007: 118).   70 Avdela (2002).   71 Kartalou (2005: 259) also suggests this definition for Rea’s crime.   72 For women, the most popular way to punish men responsible for their loss of shame was to throw a form of acid called vitrioli at their faces, causing serious burns and blindness. For vitriolistries (women throwing vitrioli) access to this ‘weapon’ was very easy because it was used as a toilet cleaning liquid. Vitrioli acquired a symbolic character as a material ‘cleaning their shame’. For more on this issue see Avdela (2002).  73 Kathimerini (06.12.1961).   74 See Chapter 1.   75 Some characteristic examples of such films are Oryi [Anger], 1962; Nomos 4000 [Law 4000], 1960; Ilingos [Vertigo], 1963 and Stefania, 1966. For more on this ‘sub-genre’ of dramas see Chapter 2.


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

  76 Here I give some examples from the reception of these films in the magazine Films tis Evdomadas which was published by the Christianiko Kentro Theamaton [Christian Centre of Public Entertainment]. For Law 4000: ‘Young people will welcome with enthusiasm and imitate the actions of the characters: unrestrained sex, teddy-boys’ activities and…abortions […] This film can only damage the Greek audience’ (date n/a). For Anger: ‘Many scenes are too erotic, the female protagonist expresses an immoral way of living’ (date n/a). For Vertigo: ‘This film is immoral. The environment shown is pathetic: young and mature people being corrupted, they live without morals only to satisfy their animal instincts […] The film is harmful and inappropriate for everyone’ (20.11.1963).   77 For the changes in the dowry system during the 1960s see Chapter 1.   78 Some examples of such films are: O Theodoros kai to Dikano [Theodoros and his Shotgun], 1962 and Patera Katse Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty], 1967.   79 This scene is also analysed in Stassinopoulou (2000a: 140) and Milonaki (2004: 192).   80 Milonaki (2004: 192).   81 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 140). On the character of the aunt as an agent of modernization, consumerism and American way of life see also Milonaki (2004: 175–87).  82 Apoyevmatini (17.12.1957).  83 Akropolis (17.12.1957).   84 Boulay (1974: 104) hypothesized that men were placed on the right because they are closer to the divine nature of God while women on the left because they were considered as morally inferior, closer to sin and the Devil.   85 Pechkam and Michelakis (2000: 68).  86 Stella seen as in between tradition and modernity contrast the analysis of Athanasatou (2001: 182) who suggests a solid antithesis between Stella-womanmodernity and Miltos-man-tradition on which the narrative is built.   87 According to Peckham and Michelakis (2000: 72–3) the wedding date of Miltos and Stella allegorically reflects upon the tragedy of her death with ‘the heroine’s bid for freedom and her repudiation of Miltos’ ultimatum, can be read allegorically in the light of Ochi day festivities that commemorate Greece’s rejection of Italy’s ultimatum on 28th October 1940’.   88 See Chapter 1.   89 This connects also to the representation of sexual restriction as a characteristic of modern masculinity in Bed of Grass (see Chapter 3), Face to Face and The Leader (see Chapter 4).  90 The Fall has been often reviewed as a neorealistic drama describing the lifestyle of contemporary Athenian young people. See Ethnos (05.12.1961);

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


Mesimvrini (04.12.1961); Vradini (04.12.1961); Kinimatografikos Astir (December 1962).   91 Milonaki (2004: 198)   92 Other films of this period that promoted a positive image of Greek military corps are: Enas Iros me Pandoufles [A Hero in Slippers], 1958; Oi Ouranoi einai Dikoi mas [The Skies are Ours], 1953; To Nisi ton Yennaion [The Island of the Brave], 1959.   93 Stassinopoulou (2000b: 39).  94 Mesimvrini (08.12.1964).   95 For female labour see Chapter 2. Other comedies presenting dynamic female characters are: I Kori mou Sosialistria [My Socialist Daughter], 1966; I Kiria Dimarchos [Mrs Mayor], 1960; I Vouleftina [A Woman in the Parliament], 1966.   96 See Chapter 1.  97 Mesimvrini (08.12.1964).  98 Athinaiki (08.12.1964).   99 Kartalou (2000: 111). 100 Kosma (2007: 131). 101 National Film Theatre (April 1978: 25). See also ‘It is the story of Stella, a passionate blonde who eats her men alive’ (Evening Standard 18.08.1956).    ‘Greek actress Melina Mercouri gives a fascinating study of a passion-crazed man-eater’ (Daily Herald 17.08.1956). 102 As Houston argues in Sight and Sound (September 1956): ‘The men [George Foundas as the passionate footballer and Aleko Alexandrakis as the romantic young bourgeois] exist only in terms of their relationships with Stella’. 103 This scene seems to have impressed the reviewer of Evening Standard (18.08.1956) who described it as a ‘feast by the harbour where men dance alone like black fighting cocks’. For the gender connotations of dance in rural Greece see Cowan (1990); Herzfeld (1985: 124). 104 Papataxiarchis (1991). 105 Peckham and Michelakis (2000: 70). 106 According to Peckham and Michelakis (2000: 71), Alekos’ death is a significant alteration from Kambanellis’ theatrical play in which Alekos dies after crashing his own car. This observation supports the hypothesis that Cacoyannis tried to enrich Aleko’s defeat by Miltos using implicit symbols. 107 ‘It is the story of a woman who is independent, beautiful and proud’ (Eikones 1955).   ‘Stella’s soul is so Greek but when it comes to personality she transcends all kinds of borders…’ (Kathimerini 23.11.1955). For the connection of bouzoukia and rembetiko music to working-class and national identity see Papadimitriou (2006: 85–7).


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

108 As mentioned in Eikones (1955), this constant conflict of Stella with female characters which represent different perceptions of femininity, led some foreign and Greek reviewers to call Cacoyannis’ success ‘a women’s film’. 109 See also similar camera shots on poor Athenian areas in Neighbourhood the Dream (1961) and The Leader (1964) which are discussed in Chapter 4. 110 This refusal reminds the first part of The Leader (1964) which is discussed in Chapter 4. On the connection of Stella with working classes Eleftheriotis (2001: 160) states: ‘Stella was clearly associated with working class values’. 111 For traditional Cretan communities from an anthropological perspective see Herzfeld (1985). Crete as a symbol of patriarchy in the film is also mentioned in Athanasatou (2001: 188). 112 Peckham and Michelakis (2000: 74). For the similar form of the film to that of ancient tragedies see Athanasatou (2001: 196). 113 Karalis (2012: 70) underlines Cacoyannis’ ability to pass his messages through close-up shots. In his words: ‘Furthermore, Cacoyannis succeeded in doing something that no one else had achieved until then: he unlocked the mystery of human form and made the human face the ultimate map of reality’. 114 However, even this scene which was largely received by the Greek and foreign press as one of the most successful ends in the history of Greek cinema, was ironically criticized by parts of the left press. Avyi for argues example: ‘…while she knows that he will slaughter her, she moves towards him, why did Cacoyannis not have her dance the ‘Zalongos dance’? [The latter was a suicide dance performed by Greek women during the national revolution against the Ottomans who preferred to die than to be sold into the harem]. This would have created a much more patriotic genre […] through her sacrifice to ‘freedom’ (Avyi 23.11.1955). 115 ‘Cacoyannis managed to control a very dangerous subject and avoid ending up with a simplistic melodrama’ (Apoyevmatini 22.11.1955). According to Kartalou (2005: 5–6, 131–2) and Papadimitriou (2006: 21) the central role of fate in the narrative was one of the most distinctive characteristics of Greek melodrama. ‘So melodramatic story might well have failed with a lesser director’ (Cinema 15.08.1956). However, reviewers who had a predominantly negative reaction to the film did not recognize the protagonists’ free will and categorized it as belonging to the large group of mass-production-mass-consumption melodramas of the time, see Avyi (23.11.1955); Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955). 116 Sight and Sound (September 1956); Daily Telegraph (18.8.1956); Cinema (15.8.1956). These characterizations in the foreign press are also referenced by Greek reviewers. See Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955); Kathimerini (23.11.1955). 117 Cacoyannis incorporated similar tragic scenes at the presence of a crowd in A Girl in Black (1956) and Zorba the Greek (1964). Some Greek reviewers e.g. Stamatiou



120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136

Modern Men: Masculinity and the Challenges of a New Age


in Avyi (23.11.1955) and Moschovakis in Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955) observed stillness in the ‘expressionless’ crowd, which was eventually interpreted as a weakness in Cacoyannis direction. However, it could be also argued that the director used this representation of the crowd as a silent means to keep the audience’s focus upon the tragedy of the two leading characters. In this way, he could also imply an inability of Greek society to protect alternative voices to the patriarchal system. ‘Manos Hadjidakis worked very creatively. His music is played by the bouzoukia band of Vasilis Tsitsanis. However, the pioneer orchestration raises this marginalized musical form to a higher level of quality […] Hadjidakis’ music is tightly bond with the story’ (Akropolis 22.11.1955). ‘Cacoyannis looked after every detail of his film including the representation of a very difficult and peculiar atmosphere, the characters’ personas, the performances of the actors and the quality of the music and the sound’ (Apoyevmatini 22.11.1955). ‘Manos Hadjidakis’ music underlines, implies, suggests and links the scenes and above all adds the colours of a unique Greek melancholy on the whole film’ (Athinaiki 21.11.1955). Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955). Avyi (23.11.1955). Monthly Film Bulletin (October 1956), Daily Telegraph (18.08.1956); Evening Standard (18.08.1956); Film Daily (21.06.1957); Cinema (15.08.1956). Times (20.8.1956); Films in Review (April 1957). Cinématographie Française (23.04.1955). Daily Film Renter (13.08.1956); Variety (11.05.1957); Film Français (22.02.1957). Cowan (1990: 174). On rembetiko music and its marginalization see also Potamitis (2003: 38–9). Sotiropoulou (1989: 47–8). Campbell (1964: 280); Peristiany (1965: 181). These kinds of representations can be found in the films A Girl in Black, Bed of Grass and Madalena. See Chapter 3 for details. Eikones (1955). Kinimatografos-Theatro (April 1960). Films and Filming (June 1963). See for example Avyi (23.11.1955); Films in Review (April 1957); Saturday Review (16.03.1957). Kartalou (2000). For Greek society in a state of ‘moral panic’ see Avdela (2005). For the ‘omnipresent neighbourhood’ in rural societies see Chapter 3. This representation of the neighbourhood also supports the argument put forward


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

by Karapostolis (1983: 255, 266–7) that internal migration worked as a shield to foreign cultural transfers. 137 According to Milonaki (2004: 178), the neighbourhood in The Aunt from Chicago is represented as a ‘living being’ which constantly watches and criticizes the people of its micro-society.


Which new insights has a study on Greek cinema provided on the topic of Greek masculinity? Or, should we rather question which new insights a study on Greek masculinity may have provided on Greek cinema? This double analytical perspective has moved forward both the study of cinema and popular culture as historical sources, and of masculinity and gender relations as valid historical categories of analysis. In addition, it has provided insights into how visual sources can pull masculinity out of its own historical ‘invisibility’. Indeed, the ‘invisibility’ of masculinity in Modern Greek studies, especially from a historical perspective, is something of a paradox considering: (a) its huge importance as a significant part of Greek social and family structures and (b) the huge changes that this society underwent and which inevitably impacted on gender identities and relations. These two factors mean that gender relations and masculinity constitute dynamic areas in the history of post-World War II Greece with great social, cultural and historical analytical value. Cinema, a medium of representation, not only managed to reflect on these issues, it also provided a whole new field for their interpretation. As this book has demonstrated, the exploration of the interaction between Greek cinema and the society which created and viewed it can shed abundant light on how masculinity and gender relations as social, cultural and visual products were negotiated and transformed. Before scrutinizing the variation and change of gender identities in Greek films, this book offered an understanding of the moral foundations of Greek tradition during the period in question. Thus, the study of the Greek society began with a critical review of existing anthropological accounts, the only body of literature to focus extensively on the relations between men and women in the 1950s and 1960s. By studying isolated rural communities over a period of years, social anthropologists managed to describe in detail the moral values


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

which constituted the backbone of Mediterranean societies; the code of honour and shame. Terms and concepts related to traditional masculinity, femininity and gender relations such as timi, dropi, philotimo, pallikari, kerasma, kefi were frequently at the centre of anthropological accounts as constitutive elements of a solid patriarchy. However, apart from contributing to the understanding of Greek tradition, the critical discussion of the methods, questions and findings of such anthropological accounts, this book has also shown that the aforementioned analytical categories should not be regarded as unbreakable. The close analysis to which they have been subject urged for the contextualization of early anthropological literature within a broader ethnographical trend, which tended to approach Mediterranean societies as ‘primitive’ and ‘backward’ after the end of World War II. An important finding was that the somewhat ‘exotic’ picture of rural Greece that early ethnographers presented was part of the general anthropological paradigm applied to the Mediterranean, which was disinterested in issues of gender variation and social change and almost entirely unconcerned with what was going on in the urban centres. In these terms, while the examination of the post-World War II anthropological literature contributed enormously in the understanding of traditional masculinities and femininities, it was not informative about modernity and its impact on gender identities. To fill this gap, before proceeding to the interpretation of gender representations in films, this book focused on Greek society through the works of other social scientists. Although focusing less extensively on the relations between men and women than the anthropologists, social historians, sociologists, demographers and economists, commenting upon the tremendous social changes in Greece did include discussions of issues which relate to the changing ways in which Greek men and women experienced gender. The extensive study of this literature has brought to light changes in a range of gender-related issues which could be characterized as expressions of a Greek modernity. These changes include increased female labour, advanced youth education, women’s participation in politics, alterations in family organization and law, extreme urbanization, increased external migration, naturalization of premarital sexuality, the emergence of delinquent youth cultures and the experience of advanced consumerism. The study of these issues had a multidimensional contribution to the understanding of masculinity and gender. First of all, they informed the deconstruction of a rather simplistic picture of Greece as a static patriarchal society and emphasized gender variation and change. For example, they underlined the



necessity to stop treating women as ‘mute’ objects and to highlight their active role in education, labour and even politics. Along the same lines, the analysis of masculinity moved beyond the hegemonic stereotype of successful pater familias, bringing to light the anxieties of men who failed to reach this standard. Second, the focus on the changes connected to gender relations informed the analysis of cinematic representations of masculinity and femininity which were also moving from a rather traditional to a more modern context. Last but not least, it provided the knowledge necessary to shatter general interpretive filters and to reach the specificity, origin and definition of Greek modernity. In general, the study of Greek society through extra-cinematic sources has afforded this book with significant insights into how masculinity and gender relations were represented in the films studied. It can be concluded that Greek cinema reflected both on Greek tradition, which has equally been thoroughly described by early anthropologists, and on modernity, whose mechanisms have been analysed by other social scientists. Thus, this book has brought forward a dynamic triangle of knowledge around the issue of gender, with each corner-source (anthropologists, social scientists and cinema) being auxiliary in the appreciation of the other two. In these terms, the perspective of cinema seems to be somewhere in the middle of those of the other two sources. On the one hand, anthropologists who focused on rural societies in the 1950s and 1960s provided insights into tradition by closing up on individual lives but without much regard to change. On the other hand, researchers from fields such as sociology, social and cultural history, economics and demography provide information about social change and modernity by means of numbers/statistical data or by describing general trends but without referring to its impact on personal experiences.1 What this study has brought forward are the various ways in which popular cinema transcended such epistemological-methodological boundaries to reflect on the process of integration and exchange between old and new ideas about gender. The nature of cinema as a mass medium aiming at larger – and less educated – audiences led to the production of films which reflected on both tradition and modernity through close-ups on individual experiences. In general, within the triangle of knowledge described above, cinema had a primary significance, and literature from the other fields was used to interpret the representations of masculinity and gender relations. The background knowledge of the social context allowed for an appreciation of the importance of locality, class and modernity in the formation of gender


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

identities. These categories became the three axes on which the main analysis was built. However, this is not to suggest that these three axes worked independently either in Greek cinematography or Greek society. On the contrary, despite the thematic division of the analysis, when scrutinizing the influence of the one parameter over gender, it was impossible not to refer to the subtle presence of the other two. This confirms the inclusive character of cinema as a source whose rich mixture of informative elements (images, sounds, language, texts) allows the historian to bring forward multiple aspects of a historical analytical category. These informative elements enabled cinema not only to represent negotiations of gender on screen, but also to influence mass audiences as to how to perceive and experience their gender identities. Here lies the socially influential role of cinema as a medium whose role in a society moves far beyond the place and time of its experience by the audience. Nor is this simply a retrospective conclusion. The social agency of cinema was recognized relatively early by the people involved in the Greek film industry as well as by the authorities controlling the film production and ‘consumption’ process. As this book has shown, films were created, reviewed and censored not simply according to their content and the topics they were depicting, but also in relation to what the potential consequences of those representations might have been on the public opinion and popular taste. The government, the church and the press tried, in their own ways, to control the social influence of this new medium which seemed powerful enough to shape gender, political, class and national identities. In these terms, the current study suggests that a historical analysis of cinema should deconstruct not only the representations as given visual artefacts but also their process of production, dissemination and reception in order to view the rationale behind ‘popular fiction’. For this reason, additional contributions to the body of knowledge created by the study of anthropologists, social scientists and films were made by the study of film reviews found in the Greek and foreign press. Firstly, the systematic examination of the popular and periodical press which accompanied the analysis of films has demonstrated the huge social role of Greek cinema. During the harsh post-World War II era, cinema was not merely a form of entertainment for the Greeks. The lack of any other audiovisual media until the late 1960s, allowed cinema not only to monopolize the field of public entrainment but also to acquire an ‘educational role’. This resulted in its huge popularity, in the significant increase of productions and in a commercial function that went



far beyond the cinema screens. By the early 1960s, cinema was transformed into one of the most lucrative industries in the country. Thus, the scrutiny of the popularity and dissemination of cinema into other forms of popular culture (i.e. newspapers, magazines) has underlined its ‘omnipresence’ in Greek society. This is a factor which must be fully taken into account before we can appreciate the historicity of cinema when discussing gender. Secondly, the incorporation of film reviews from both the domestic and foreign press allowed for the better understanding of the reception process from various parts of society. Stemming from the above, the methodological approach brought forward the necessity of analyses able to bridge the gap between the study of the society and the study of cinema. This has underlined the merits of viewing these components as fundamentally interlinked. In this way, historians can appreciate the interaction between the medium and its audience and provide what Ferro has described as a ‘counter-analysis of society’.2 On the one hand, close readings of films can provide the primary material for such studies, the visual representations of a socio-historical context. On the other hand, film reviews, discussions on cinema in newspapers, magazines and periodicals, film advertisements and the star-system presence in popular culture, can contribute significantly to the understanding of the reception of filmic images and their place in the sociohistorical context. Thus, two very basic elements of the relationship between cinema and its socio-historical context can be appreciated. First, that what appears on screen should not be taken at face value; films do not reflect ‘reality’ or history but represent it in their own terms. A systematic decoding of their language, however, can transform them into valuable historical sources which can actually ‘speak’ about the past. Films should therefore be seen in their own right, as sources whose value is quite often related to their distance from ‘reality’. Second, before reaching any historical conclusions we should bear in mind that the production of filmic meaning is a long and complex process which is influenced by a series of intrinsic and external factors, related or unrelated to the film industry. For example, the legal system, state policies, censorship, the audience’s taste, cinema’s relation to other forms of popular culture, press reactions, the social, political, religious and gender status of the people involved in the film industry are only some of these factors which were taken into account in order to understand the historicity of films. To summarize the main conclusions of this study, the analysis of films has demonstrated plural, diverse and flexible ways of representing masculinity and


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

gender relations. It can be argued that the mass-production-mass-consumption character of the Greek film industry meant that films had to respond to the needs of a variety of audiences and this contributed to a plurality of gender representations. This diversion and plurality in the approach to gender is the primary link between the films used for a close reading in this book. Through the analysis of films belonging to different genres, created by different directors, aiming at different audiences and produced in different years, masculinity has been approached as an identity which changes as dramatically as its representations on screen. Furthermore, masculinity and gender relations were discussed in popular film productions as crucial elements in some of the main clashes which preoccupied the Greek people from the early 1950s until the late 1960s. These included the clash between rural and urban, the clash between working and upper classes and the clash between older and younger generations. However, in many cases these initial antitheses were finally weakened, since the advent of modernity seemed to initiate a discussion among mentalities with different origins, among various classes or generations. Morality, sexuality, honour, shame, gender spheres, provision, labour and consumerism were constantly renegotiated in the countryside, the urban centres, in working-classes, upper classes and in older and new generations. This total renegotiation is related to a significant finding; that even stereotypically represented types of masculinity and femininity in Greek cinema (i.e. the honourable pater familias, the pallikari, the housewife, the working-class ‘hero’, the virgin maiden, the Teddy boy, the Teddy girl) contained both traditional and modern elements. For example, while the filmic images of the successful pater familias in the case of married men and of pallikari in the case of unmarried men, maintain their validity as the ideals of manhood, new behaviours are attached to them during the period under examination. As we pass to the 1960s, leading male characters are shown as being more sensitive, emotional, caring and less interested in ‘sexual scoring’ to prove their manliness. In this sense, traditional male machismo continued to shape masculine hierarchies but was certainly not represented as the only way to reach their top. Moreover, new types of notorious masculinity frequently appear in the films of the 1960s, such as the Teddy boy, which became extremely popular and offered an alternative way of being a modern man. These modern ways of representing masculinity nonetheless continued to bear elements from tradition. Teddy boys, for example, pursued premarital sexual experience to reconfirm their manliness among male groups. Thus, in



this context of (ex)change, monolithical perceptions of hegemony are abolished – to confirm its fluidity as suggested by Connell3 – together with various myths regarding ‘how a real man should be’. Stemming from the above, while discussing class, locality and modernity the current analysis has demonstrated how Greek cinema bridged antithetical structures and promoted a message of hybridization of behaviours, morals and beliefs within a weakening patriarchal context. Another important finding is that the plural and relational way of representing masculinity in films was not merely a result of the impact of an ‘imported’ modernity. Greek cinema has also represented the change in the traditional patriarchal system as the result of an internal crisis. Leading characters consciously choose to dissent from the established system, not only because they are influenced by ‘Western’ ideas but also because they come to realize its limitations and the unbalanced distribution of power within it. In these terms, we can speak of an interesting process of an indigenous deconstruction of patriarchy which is enhanced by, but not dependent on, foreign values, ideas and beliefs regarding masculinity, femininity and family organization. However, this does not suggest that through the lenses of Greek cinema, patriarchy has been eliminated or reduced. On the contrary, the study has shown that in the majority of films in the 1950s and 1960s, patriarchy is still the dominant paradigm of family organization. What is really remarkable is the plural and diverse way in which popular films depicted social change as an agent which renegotiates hegemonic models and gives voice to those who have been at the bottom of the hierarchy of power. In this way, women and some alternative, marginalized and subordinated types of men became visible as the ‘changing others’ to hegemony. Moreover, with this renegotiation of power, cinema brought a deep ‘masculinity crisis’ into public view. Films showed this crisis as a result either of a lack of clear lines which would define a hegemonic masculine behaviour, or of the inability of men to reach hegemonic standards. Filmic characters faced a masculinity crisis in a context which was renegotiating hegemonic masculinity as part of local, class and generational identities. This is precisely what provided an additional edge to the representations of gender in Greek popular cinema. Thus, the book was not restricted to the deconstruction of hegemonic types of traditional and modern masculinity, such as the successful pater familias, the pallikari or the working-class hero, but was equally interested in highlighting


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

the importance of characters who failed to reach these standards. In this way, men lacking social or physical power, men with damaged honour, men marginalized by their social class or local society, men considered as intruders to a local or class environment and men who lost many of their patriarchal privileges gained a central place in the effort to approach the representations of masculinity in Greek cinema. Given the popularity and frequent appearance of these characters it could be fairly hypothesized that Greek audiences embraced the representations of ‘masculine failure’ as a means of soothing their anxiety to reach hegemonic standards. Nor was the extended range of male characters met by a monolithical representation of femininity. On the contrary, the variety of masculinity has consistently been built upon changes in femininity. While women in films of this period are largely represented as attached to their traditional gender role, more and more films narrate stories of emancipated women, as we pass from the 1950s to the 1960s. As we have seen from the study of the Greek society, the entrance of women to the traditionally male domain of waged labour played a central role in female emancipation and inspired its representations on screen. From part-time employees who abandon their jobs after the ‘fulfilment’ of matrimony in films of the 1950s, female characters start to ascend professional hierarchies during the 1960s and become company directors, business women and politicians. The once clear boundaries between male and female spheres were also merged through material culture and entertainment. For example, in popular dramas and comedies since the late 1950s, female characters appear more and more frequently entering the public sphere alone, drinking, smoking, enjoying their sexuality; behaviours which until then maintained a strictly male character. Thus, with the spheres between male and female becoming increasingly uncertain, women appear as the carriers of change, bringing insecurity and crisis to masculinity. This happens as men desperately try to accommodate the upgrade of the role of women and the maintenance of their patriarchal privileges. However, the upgrade of the role of women was not always represented as a ‘way to happiness’. It often appears to cause a ‘femininity crisis’ and not infrequently leads women to return to more conventional traditional behaviours within patriarchy. Commonly, this was expressed through the depiction of a woman’s marriage to a husband able to afford the expenses of the family so that his wife could dedicate herself to the household duties. In other cases, the efforts by female ‘rebels’ to be different ended badly; often in their physical



elimination as ‘anomalies’ to social stability. Such stories provide insights into the harsh profile of the clash between tradition and modernity and the intolerance of Greek society to alternative gender models. Nevertheless, this notion of ‘return-to-tradition-or-be-eliminated’ was not strong enough to alter the general impression of an emerging female emancipation which came to disturb a ‘smoothly functioning’ patriarchal system. Patriarchy remained one of the most debated entities in popular films and has been a central category of analysis in this book. Its negotiation within the modern context has been successfully elaborated by filmmakers to extend the comic element in comedies and to maximize the dramatic element in dramas. However, the discussion on patriarchy in each film analysed here varied not only in terms of genre but also in terms of intended audiences. Directors who aimed to show their films to international audiences or festivals – such as Michalis Cacoyannis and Greg Tallas – insisted on depicting the harsh profile of patriarchy. Thus, they represented it exclusively as a system of inescapable repression, not only for women but also for those men who failed to measure up with hegemonic standards. As the examination of printed sources has shown, these depictions of Greece as a strict patriarchal society met with enthusiasm on the part of international critics but divided the Greek press. While the part of the press who saw these films positively expressed a feeling of national pride due to their international success, the most sceptical critics did not hesitate to characterize them as fake versions of Greek society, pumped up with ‘exotic’ elements which were extremely attractive to the modern West. Whether this criticism is valid or not, the view of directors focusing on the failures and cruelty of the well-established patriarchal system proved extremely valuable for this research. It brought forward close-ups of a typology of male and female characters who were trying either to step out of this system, or to measure up to the hegemonic prototypes it imposed. In this way, the different audience orientation, as well as the different production processes of these films added variety and plurality to the representations of gender in Greek cinema. Thus, in this book, productions with international ambitions have provided a point of comparison with films created for local ‘mass consumption’. In the latter, the discussion of patriarchy depended to a far greater extent on the rules and limitations of the indigenous film industry, than in the first. Moreover, the controversial reception of international successes by the Greek press, as well as their warm welcoming by foreign reviewers, has highlighted how the image of a nation can be shaped through its cinematic representations. Given the centrality


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

of traditional masculinity and patriarchy in these productions, it could be argued that the image of Greece abroad was ‘orientalistically’ associated to its Mediterranean cultural context. Following from the above, we can argue that patriarchy is represented in films as the predominating, if not the unique, system of family organization in Greece during the 1950s and 1960s. This depiction crossed genres, audiences and directors and is evident across themes focused on locality, class or generations. In this sense, it might easily be assumed that these representations transformed Greek cinema into a medium which ultimately reinforced traditional systems of family organization. Yet, as has been argued, this is not exactly the case. Certainly popular films offer a unique view point from which to observe traditional ideas regarding gender hierarchies. However, they do not limit themselves to a circular reasoning of a well-established, fully functioning, undisputed patriarchy. Pater familias, pallikari, virgin maidens, male authorities (religious, political and judicial), omnipresent neighbourhoods, female domesticity, and a male-dominated public sphere have been only some of the axes around which the representation of patriarchy has revolved. Nevertheless, these are not a priori fixed social structures. In many cases, films renegotiated constitutive elements of traditional gender hegemony, suggesting alternative male or female behaviours. For example, as we pass to the 1960s increasing numbers of female characters appear to flirt with men or even to show a sexual aggressiveness, disregarding the moral code of female shame. In more general terms, through their opposition to the system, or their efforts to become successful parts of it, male and female characters have shown how modernity impacted on longstanding gender models and vice versa. What is more, the analysis of films has brought to surface a fragility of traditional hegemonic masculinity which was related to its dependence on too many ‘points of evaluation’. Many of these ‘points’, for example the virginity of related females before marriage and avoidance of the male sexual gaze on them, were largely disputed by modern trends and fashions. Others, such as the need for men to be the sole providers in the household and the provision of dowries for their female kin, proved very difficult to achieve, suggesting an inadequacy of patriarchy to adjust to the increasing consumerism. In other words, men were represented as going through a relentless process of examination of their masculinity. This examination was not restricted to the private sphere where men might prove their superiority over women by being worthy providers and protectors. Masculinity was equally tested in the public sphere. A man



had to prove himself as honourable in work, entertainment and leisure time and especially within male groups. In fact, male homo-sociality maintained its importance as a process through which masculine hierarchies were built. Thus, traditional male domains, such as the coffee house, continued being represented as places where masculinity was tested. However, in the 1960s they co-exist with new places of male homo-sociality such as the cafes or billiard rooms which, however, were not forbidden for women. In these new domains, modern ideas about masculinity, femininity and gender relations were promoted and alternative types of men and women, such as Teddy boys and Teddy girls were accommodated. It can be concluded that traditional masculinity appeared more fragile in films which used neo-realist techniques to depict family relations in the lower strata of Greek society. In the cases of films showing the various ‘masculine failures’ of working-class men the reaction of left-wing critics was very negative, with the former accusing filmmakers of trying to damage the ‘heroic’ profile of the working-classes. Especially when such films succeeded abroad the reaction of these critics became worse. If nothing else, this unveils their anxiety over the impact of filmic representations of class in Greece and abroad and highlights the social agency of cinema as a powerful, ‘identity shaping’ medium. Conclusively, many popular productions suggested that the traditional ‘points of masculine evaluation’, which were supposed to strengthen patriarchy by discriminating against its weakest links, acted to the opposite effect since the majority of men could not match its average standards. In this way, the complexities of the context in which masculinity has been experienced and represented during the period in question were highlighted on the silver screen. Another major point is that the connection of cinema with modernity went far beyond the cinema screens. New morals, ideas and beliefs regarding gender moved from the silver screen to the dozens of popular magazines which started to be published one after another since the mid-1950s in order to satisfy the leisure needs of millions of Greeks. Film advertisements, articles about actors and actresses, cineromanzi and posters are only some of the ways in which widely popular film images invaded printed forms of popular culture. In the 1960s, if not earlier, Greek society seemed ready to welcome the creation of an indigenous star system. Greek actors and actresses started to appear side by side with superstars of European and American cinema in popular magazines promoting new ways to experience and express masculinity and femininity. Thus, through this system, Greek audiences were overwhelmed by a modernity


Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema

which was engaged in a process of renegotiating issues such as entertainment, sexuality, fashion, material culture, family organization, gender hierarchies and male-female spheres. Nevertheless, just as elements of tradition appear to have been influenced by the impact of modernity, elements of modernity were not always at odds with the patriarchal context into which they penetrated. For example, the sexual portrayal of the female body across popular media and fashion did not simply express the right of women to enjoy their sexuality and display their beauty. It confirmed the ‘masculine right’ of men being the agents of the sexual gaze while women maintained a passive sexual objectification. However, this is not to suggest that Greek cinema statically maintained the character of an art of ‘boys photographing girls’.4 Since the mid-1960s male actors, such as Kostas Kakkavas, Yiorgos Foundas, Dimitris Papamihail and Nikos Kourkoulos, also gained popularity as a result of their photogenic bodily beauty which was strongly emphasized by the camera. In these terms, it would be safer to conclude that Greek cinema has been the art of photographing those bodies – male and female – with the greatest commercial value. With more and more women becoming part of the country’s labour force and obtaining economic independence from their husbands, brothers and fathers, the male body was also commercialized in popular culture to fill the needs of the new audience. But the study of the representations of the body in popular cinema has not been limited to the analysis of the heterosexual gazes of the audience. As we have seen, the physical beauty, which was an important part of the stardom of Greek actors and actresses, had a strong social impact. Greek audiences, who were relatively inexperienced about the market values of a star system, frequently adopted behaviours suggested by popular filmic images. The influence of such images is evident across popular culture, from discussions in popular magazines and newspapers to self-reflexive scenes in films which describe how people adopt behaviours from the silver screen. In fact, the welcoming of the indigenous star system was remarkably warm and has had an enduring impression on the Greek people. To sum up, this book has been an exploration of the representations of masculinity and gender relations and their connection to locality, class and modernity. The examination of these issues revolved around a series of sub-themes which highlighted the interaction between a specific socio-historical context and filmic representations of masculinity and gender relations. Migration, Teddy boyism, sexual emancipation, family organization, consumption, hegemony,



labour, violence, public and private spheres have each been particular aspects of the main analysis. Beyond the significance of short-scale historical insights into the complex mechanisms which have shaped the formation and reformation of masculinities in a specific country and time, the book has also highlighted the uniqueness of cinema in general as a domain of historical enquiry. While this appreciation seems to have been common ground for researchers in other fields of humanities, arts and social sciences (e.g. sociology, socio-linguistics, cinema studies, and cultural studies) for some decades now, historical approaches to gender through film are relatively undeveloped. Given the very limited number of academic studies which use Greek popular films as primary sources, the Old Greek Cinema is virtually a virgin field of research which opens a panorama of enquiry not only for the study of gender but for all social identities. In conclusion, this book should be regarded not only as a contribution to the study of gender in Greece, but also as a starting point from which the socio-historical value of cinema can be observed, appreciated and investigated.

Notes 1 Stassinopoulou (2000a: 39) underlines the absence of inclusive studies on the social and cultural history of Greece after the end of the civil war and the fact that anthropological literature remained focused on individual case studies while sociological approaches have been primarily quantitative. 2 Ferro (1988). 3 Connell (1987: 186). 4 This characterisation of cinema comes from the French New-Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard as quoted in Benshoff and Griffin (2004: 234).


Main films analysed in Chapter 3 To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956 1 General information First release: 19 March 1956 Box office ranking 1955–6: 4th out of 24 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 87,552 Genre: Drama Director: Michalis Cacoyannis Script: Michalis Cacoyannis Photography: Walter Lassally Music: Aryiris Kounadis Production Company: Hermes Films Credits/Awards: ‘Golden Globe’ for the best foreign-language film by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association 1957, nominated for ‘Golden Palm’ at Cannes Film Festival 1957, Silver Medallion at Moscow Film Festival 1957 Starring: Elli Lambeti (Marina), Dimitris Horn (Pavlos), Elli Zafeiriou (Froso), Yiorgos Foundas (Christos), Stefanos Stratigos (Panayis), Anestis Vlachos (Mitsos).

2 Synopsis The film begins with the arrival of two Athenian friends, Pavlos, an unsuccessful writer, and Andonis, an architect, at the picturesque Greek island of Hydra, for a holiday. They decide to stay in a traditional house belonging to a widow, Froso, who faces the contempt of local society because she has a reputation of sleeping around. Mitsos and Marina, the two children of the widow, despite being absolutely moral, suffer various humiliations from local bullies due to their mother’s acts. Soon, Pavlos falls in love with the beautiful and aloof daughter of the landlady. But Marina is also the object of the jealousy and scorn of Hydra’s

268 Appendix

young fishermen, especially Christos, whose sexual overtures she has repeatedly rejected (due to his cruel mockery Marina’s sister committed suicide some years before). Pavlos finds himself in the middle of this feud and tries to find ways to help Marina to overcome the cruelty and the suffocating restrictions of the island society. Inevitably, this brings him into conflict with Christos and his company who seize upon every chance to pester him. However, one of their practical jokes has a tragic end; they send Pavlos to meet Marina in a sabotaged boat without knowing that he will suddenly decide to take some children on board with him. When the boat sinks some of the children are drowned and Pavlos is arrested. Towards the end of the film Marina persuades Christos to confess his guilt for the tragic accident and thus, Pavlos is released. The film ends with the two protagonists reunited; Pavlos decides to take Marina with him back to Athens in order to get married.

Ayoupa, to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass], 1957 1 General information First release: 28 January 1957 Box office ranking: 1956–7: 8th out of 30 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 49,582 Genre: Drama Director: Greg Tallas Script: Notis Peryialis Photograph: Nasos Gizikis Music: Manos Hadjidakis Production Company: Parnassus Films Starring: Anna Bratsou (Ayoupa), Michalis Nikolinakos (Doctor), Vera Karayiannidou (Anna), Anestis Vlachos (Tonis), Andonis Theodorellos (Yioryis) Note: The film was a remarkable success in the USA.

2 Synopsis The film narrates the life of Ayoupa, a young, beautiful but outcast girl in a Greek mainland village. As a baby, Ayoupa was abandoned by her mother in the fields because she was an illegitimate child, to be found and raised by an elderly man. After his death, the girl is placed with a couple and their daughter who routinely mistreat her. When she reaches adolescence she is raped by an outlaw



and forced to abandon her home and the village. Thus, she lives in the fields and survives by stealing food from the villagers. One day, she sexually attracts two young men, Tonis and Yiorgis, to become the victim of rape for a second time and have a stillborn child nine months later. Foraging for food, she enters the home of the local doctor who kindly offers her a new home. Soon, Ayoupa falls in love with him but her happiness does not last for long. The villagers connect her presence with a series of unfortunate events such as crop failures, dry wells, low fertility of animals, spreading of plague disease and the murder of Yioryis by Tonis while arguing who had the right to rape her. The superstitious villagers consider her as a curse to their land and, they find a chance to beat her to death.

Mandalena, 1960 1 General information First release: 24 October 1960 Box office ranking: 1960–1: 2nd out of 58 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 192,378 Genre: Comedy Director: Dinos Dimopoulos Script: Yiorgos Roussos Photography: Walter Lassally Music: Manos Hadjidakis Production Company: Finos Film Starring: Aliki Vouyiouklaki (Mandalena), Dimitris Papamihail (Lambis), Pandelis Zervos (priest), Lavrendis Dianellos (Kosmas Haridimos), Thanasis Vengos (policeman) Awards: Participated in Cannes Festival, Three awards in Thessaloniki Film Festival 1960.

2 Synopsis The story takes place in the Greek island of Antiparos in which the strong competition between two ferry owners divides the local community. On the one hand, Kosmas Haridimos and his daughter Mandalena, and on the other Yiorgaras and his son Lambis. When Kosmas Haridimos passes away, Mandalena as the eldest child becomes the head of her family which consists of five sisters, a brother and her elderly grandmother. Choosing not to compromise by getting married to a man who could solve her financial

270 Appendix

problems, Mandalena decides to continue working as the captain of the ferry. However, the islanders disapprove of her decision and travel only with the ferry of Lambis. Her only ally is Papa-Fotis, the priest of the island, who tries with various tricks to persuade the islanders to support the orphan family. The final blow to Mandalenas’ efforts comes when Lambis’ father decides to buy a new engine-powered ferry; everybody wants to travel with it leaving Mandalena’s boat desperately empty. The solution to Mandalena’s problems comes in the form of mutual love with Lambis. The end of the film finds the two ex-rivals engaged to be married.

Patera Katse Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty], 1967 1 General information First release: 10 April 1967 Box office ranking 1966–7: 25th out of 117 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 208,444 Genre: Comedy Director: Kostas Karayiannis Script: Lakis Michaelidis/ Yiorgos Katsambis Music: Yiorgos Zambettas Photography: Vasilis Vasileiadis Production Company: Karayiannis-Karatzopoulos Starring: Lambros Konstandaras (Andonis Papastafidas), Mirka Kalatzopoulou (Bendy), Alekos Tzanetakos (Thomas), Yiorgos Moutsios (Jimmy), Athinodoros Prousalis (Periklis).

2 Synopsis Thomas, a young man who has left his village to study Law in the city of Athens, becomes addicted to the night life of the Greek capital. Using every kind of excuse he constantly asks for more and more money from his father, Andonis Papastafidas, one of the richest agriculturists in the rural area of Eyio. When Thomas asks for an unusually large sum after a night adventure, his father becomes suspicious and decides to travel to Athens in order to check what his son is actually doing with all the money. In Athens, he encounters a series of unfortunate surprises: his son has not attended a single lecture for nearly a year, he rents a luxurious house and every night he enjoys himself at crazy parties. Thus, in order to re-moralize his son and supervise



his academic progress he decides to extend his visit to Athens. At this point, a reversal of roles begins. While Thomas shows remarkable dedication to his studies and stops hanging around with ‘bad company’, the middle-aged Papastafidas falls in love with Bendy, a sexy 22 year-old friend of his son, who wants to become a cinema star. The once conservative Papastafidas starts acting like a teenager in order to be close to Bendy while his family tries in vain to make him realize that his behaviour brings shame on them. A series of comic adventures follows with the ‘teenager’ father being the protagonist until the film reaches a happy end which finds the son graduating from the university and Papastafidas flirting with another pretty girl, also from his son’s social circle.

Main films analysed in Chapter 4 Mia Zoi tin Ehoume [We Live Only Once], 1958 1 General information First release: 10 March 1958 Box office ranking 1957–8: 3rd out of 31 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 98,584 Genre: Comedy Director: George Tzavellas Script: George Tzavellas Photography: Dinos Katsouridis Music: Manos Hadjidakis Production Company: Finos Film Starring: Dimitris Horn, Yvonne Sanson, Vasilis Avlonitis, Christos Tsanganeas, Periklis Christoforidis, Lavrendis Dianelos, Koulis Stolingas, Dionisis Papayiannopoulos, Yiorgos Damasiotis, Haris Kamilli, Tzoli Garbi, Stavros Iatridis, Yiannis Ioannidis, Nikos Fermas.

2 Synopsis The film begins with Kleon, narrating the story of how he ended up in prison to a good-hearted warden. Kleon used to work for years as a bank clerk suffering insults from his tyrannical boss on a daily basis. Despite his poverty he kept on making plans for an extensive romantic boat trip and a chance to live the high life. One day,

272 Appendix

while checking the account books, he discovers a huge surplus of money. At first he decides to tell the bank manager about it but after suffering another series of insults, he decides to keep his silence and embezzle the money. From that moment Kleon enters the world of the Athenian elite. He enjoys expensive entertainments, luxurious hotels and fashionable clothes and he escorts Bibi, an extremely beautiful ex-mistress of his boss who cares only about his money. Inevitably, one day all the money is gone, the police discover the embezzlement and Kleon ends up in prison. However, luck will smile on him for a final time as one of the investments he made while he was still rich will yield enough money to pay all his debts and to buy a boat ticket to the USA. Bibi also comes to realize the vanity of her lifestyle but Kleon’s boat departs before she manages to get on board. The film closes optimistically with the implication that Bibi will travel to the USA to find him.

Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream], 1961 1 General information First release: 19 October 1961 Box office ranking 1961–2: 4th out of 68 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 74,427 Genre: Drama/Social satire Director: Alekos Alexandrakis Script: Kostas Kotzias and Takis Livadeitis Photography: Dimos Sakellariou Music: Mikis Theodorakis Production Company: Elliniki Paragoyi Credits/Awards: Award for Photography and Best Actor in a supporting role (Manos Katrakis) in Thessaloniki Film Festival 1961, Honoured in Moscow Film Festival 1961, Award for Best Actor in a leading role (Alekos Alexandrakis) and Best Music by Enosis Kritikon Kinimatografou Athinon (E.K.K.A.) [Film Critics Association Athens] Starring: Alekos Alexandrakis, Manos Katrakis, Aliki Yeoryouli, Spiros Mousouris, Ilektra Kalamidou, Alekos Petsos, Aleka Paizi, Athanasia Moustaka, Sapfo Notara.

2 Synopsis Rikos, a young man who has been in jail for fraud, returns to his old neighbourhood and tries to find money to start a new life. His neighbourhood is one of the poorest



in Athens, consisting of people who barely make ends meet. Soon after his return, Rikos finds two old friends and they decide to try to solve their problems together. His first friend, Yiannis, a smuggler of fabrics, faces the constant contempt of his family because he fails to provide for them. The second, Asimakis, helps Yiannis to sell fabrics in the streets of Athens, and lives with his wife, Eleni, in a wrecked house anticipating the day when they will be able to afford a bigger and more beautiful house on the near hill. Rikos meets also his ex-girlfriend, Stefania (Yiannis daughter) who tries to escape from the poor neighbourhood by becoming the mistress of a rich Athenian, who promises to take her on a tour in Italy. But towards the end of the film, the dreams of all characters prove deceptive. Rikos helps his friends with their smuggling until one day they lose all their stock and money while being chased by the police. To start their business again, Asimakis sells his wife’s jewellery and gives the money to Rikos who promises to buy new fabrics. When Rikos wastes this last money on night entertainments, Asimakis is unable to stand his misery and commits suicide. At the same time, Rikos and Yiannis take on an alternative plan and try to rob an old woman. However, at the moment they are ready to take the money, they feel sorry for her and return to their neighbourhood without completing their mission. Things do not work out for Stefania, either, since the night before the big trip her boyfriend loses her ticket in gambling. Thus, the poor neighbourhood remains the home of the protagonists who, nevertheless, continue to hope for a better future.

O Krahtis [The Leader], 1964 1 General information First release: 19 October 1964 Box office ranking 1964–5: 21st of 93 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 217,672 Genre: Drama Director: Kostas Andritsos Script: Nikos Foskolos Photography: Spiros Gogonis Music: Yiorgos Katsaros Production Company: Phoenix Film Starring: Yiorgos Foundas, Maro Kondou, Eleni Anousaki, Yiorgos Moutsios, Yiannis Voglis, Takis Emmanouil, Niki Triantafillidi, Aliki Zografou, Elli Xanthaki, Christos Katsiyiannis.

274 Appendix

2 Synopsis The film is set in a poor Athenian neighbourhood where the majority of the population works in a local factory. Tassos, the leading male character, is the most respectable worker and also has a reputation of being a World War II hero. When the workers demand safer working conditions and a small raise, Tassos becomes their leader. Eventually their demands are accepted and Yioula, the factory owner, is charmed by Tassos’ leadership skills and iron will. Despite being aware of Tassos’ engagement to Mina, a poor girl, Yioula tries to lure him with her astonishing beauty and luxurious lifestyle. Initially, Tassos rejects her erotic siege but a series of unfortunate events – his mother’s illness and the decision of Michalis, his sister’s fiancé, to migrate to Belgium – leave him desperately in need of money and thus, he finally becomes her lover. Shortly after this, he is appointed as the new factory manager. However, his entrance into Athens’ upper class circles prompts his rejection by the working-class environment. With his mother still ill, his sister dissolving her engagement with Michalis and starting to sleep around with posh men, Mina marrying his best friend and Yioula being a drug addict, Tassos towards the end of the film becomes a lonely, tragic figure. In a moment of desperation, he kills himself by driving his car into a monument for World War II heroes in the central square of his old neighbourhood.

Prosopo me Prosopo [Face to Face], 1966 1 General information First release: 17 December 1966 Box office ranking 1966–7: 66th out of 117 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 89,569 Genre: Comedy/Social-Political Satire Director: Roviros Manthoulis Script: Roviros Manthoulis Photography: Stamatis Tripos Music: Nikos Mamagkakis Production Company: Roviros Manthoulis Credits/Awards: Best direction award in Thessaloniki Film Festival 1966, Best direction award in Athens Film Festival 1966, Special Award in Locarno film festival, Nominated for festivals in Hyeres, Moscow, Pesaro, Utrecht, Lausanne Starring: Kostas Messaris, Eleni Stavropoulou, Theano Ioannidou, Lambros Kotsiris.



2 Synopsis The film narrates the story of Dimitris, a young English teacher from Thessaloniki, who has 15 days to teach English to Varvara, a pretty teenager, because her father, a rich Athenian businessman, wants to marry her to one of his British associates. His contact with Varvara’s family will offer Dimitris an opportunity to experience the affluent lifestyle of upper class Athenians, an act which goes against his working-class morality. In parallel with the main story, the film shows Greece in intense social and political crisis with hundreds of young men protesting in the main streets of the capital. Apart from teaching English, Dimitris is asked to serve his employers in many other ways i.e. as an extra player in card games, a dog walker and a tourist guide for Varvara’s future husband. But what is most shocking for him is when he becomes the sexual target first of his 18-year-old student and then of her middle-aged stepmother. After a short erotic affair with each woman, Dimitris will eventually reject them and join the protestors in the streets of Athens.

Main films analysed in Chapter 5 Stella, 1955 1 General information First release: 21 November 1955 Box office ranking 1955–6: 1st out of 24 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 134,142 Genre: Drama Director: Michalis Cacoyannis Script: Michalis Cacoyannis (based on the theatrical play by Iakovos Kambanellis ‘Stella with the Red Gloves’) Photography: Kostas Theodoridis Music: Manos Hadjidakis Production Company: Millas Films Credits/Awards: Awarded as the best film of the years 1955–59 in Thessaloniki Film Festival (1960) together with the films: O Drakos [The Ogre of Athens], 1956 and To Xilo Vyike apo ton Paradeiso [Spanking Started in Heavens], 1959. Awarded the ‘Golden Globe’ for the best foreign-language film by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association 1956, Nominated for the ‘Golden Palm’ in Cannes Film Festival 1956, Nominated for Oscar (Costumes, Deni Vahlioti) 1956

276 Appendix Starring: Melina Merkouri (Stella), Yiorgos Foundas (Miltos), Voula Zoumboulaki (Anneta), Alekos Alexandrakis (Alekos), Tasso Kavvadia (Aleko’s sister), Christina Kaloyerikou (Milto’s mother), Dionisis Papayiannopoulos (Mitsos), Sofia Vembo (Maria), Kostas Kakkavas (Andonis), Eleni Halkousi (Despoina).

2 Synopsis Stella is the beautiful, popular and passionate star of the bouzoukia tavern ‘Paradise’ in Athens. She has a lover, Alekos, a delicate young man from a good family who loves her desperately and lives in a constant fear that sooner or later she will abandon him. He also suffers from the suspicions of his snobbish relatives, who disapprove of Stella. However, when Alekos is out of his class environment, in the free-and-easy atmosphere of the ‘Paradise’, he continually presses Stella to marry him. His insecurities soon kill Stella’s affection for him. One day, Miltos, a handsome young footballer, visits Stella’s workplace. At their first meeting, Stella and Miltos treat each other with scorn but they soon find their mutual attraction irresistible and abandon themselves to their passion. Alekos, obsessed with jealously, is on the edge of a breakdown. His sister visits Stella and arrogantly tells her that for his sake the family will agree to their marriage; the proposal is violently rejected and the sister is virtually thrown out. A crisis is reached when Alekos is killed in a street accident beneath Stella’s window, while she is in the arms of her new lover. She is blamed for his death and turns to Miltos in her distress. Taking advantage of her unhappiness, Miltos persuades her to agree to marry him. The wedding is scheduled for a day of national holiday. As the time of the ceremony approaches, Stella, hating the thought of losing her freedom, decides not to go to the church and jilts Miltos at the altar. The lovers pass the night in different parts of the city, endeavouring to drown their sorrows but, drawn by an inexorable force, they meet at dawn in the deserted street in front of the ‘Paradise’. Blind with passion Miltos stabs Stella with his pocket knife but immediately regrets it. Too late, the heroine lies already dead in his arms.

I Theia apo to Sikago [The Aunt from Chicago], 1957 1 General information First release: 16 December 1957 Box office ranking 1957–8: 1st out of 31 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 142,459



Genre: Comedy Director: Alekos Sakellarios Script: Alekos Sakellarios Photography: Dinos Katsouridis Music: Takis Morakis Production Company: Finos Film Starring: Yeoryia Vasiliadou (Kalliopi), Orestis Makris (Harilaos), Eleni Zafiriou (Efterpi), Geli Mavropoulou (Eleni), Tzeni Karezi (Katina), Margarita Papayeoryiou (Maria), Niki Papadatou (Angeliki), Thodoros Dimitriou (civil engineer), Dimitris Papamihail (Kostas), Stefanos Stratigos (lawyer), Pantelis Zervos (Xenofon), Lakis Skellas (Thodoros).

2 Synopsis The film narrates the story of Harilaos, a veteran military officer and the father of four unmarried daughters aged between 15 and 26. Harilaos is generally attached to the traditional moral values and behaviours of patriarchal family and dislikes anything related to modernity and the new social trends. Thus, he remains a strict pater familias who considers it his ultimate duty to protect his daughters’ reputation and virginity until marriage. To this end he either keeps them confined to the house or he escorts them whenever they enter the public sphere. As a result, potential grooms are discouraged from approaching his daughters who, according to Harilaos’ wife Efterpi, and his closest friend Xenofon, run the risk of becoming old maids. Solutions to these problems are suggested by Kalliopi, Harilaos’ sister, who returns in Greece after living for 30 years in the USA. Upon her return, Kalliopi decides to help her brother’s family and undertakes the task of modernizing their lifestyle and of finding grooms for all her unmarried nieces. Using highly comic methods she not only achieves her goal of marrying off her nieces, but she also finds a groom for herself.

Katiforos [The Fall], 1961 1 General information First release: 4 December 1961 Box office ranking 1961–2: 1st out of 68 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 161,331 Genre: Drama Director: Yiannis Dalianidis

278 Appendix Script: Yiannis Dalianidis Photography: Nikos Dimopoulos Music: Kostas Kapnisis Production Company: Finos Film Starring: Zoi Laskari (Rea), Nikos Kourkoulos (Kostas), Vangelis Voulgaridis (Petros), Kostas Voutsas (Bisbirgas), Nitsa Marouda (Maria), Lavrentis Dianellos (Mr Sotiris), Pantelis Zervos (Mr Nikolaou), Mirka Kalantzopoulou (Lena), Eleni Zafeiriou (Mrs Nicolaou), Periklis Christoforidis (Petrs’ father), Mairi Formozi (Yeoryia).

2 Synopsis The film narrates the story of a company of teenagers in Athens whose modern way of living leads to a tragedy. The story begins with Rea, the most beautiful and popular girl in the group, trying to make a choice between two men. The first is Kostas, a charming macho man, the most popular but notorious ‘bad boy’ among the young friends, whom she already dates. The second is Petros, a sensitive, decent and good-hearted university student who has honest and pure feelings for her. All members of the group are shown constantly in ‘crazy’ parties, enjoying themselves with foreign music and dance, massive consumption of alcohol and an erotic atmosphere which often leads to unrestrained sex. The parents of these young men and women desperately try to control their children using methods ranging from verbal advice to physical punishment. The tragedy begins when Rea dares to insult and reject Kostas for Petros in the presence of their friends, after learning that he has repeatedly cheated on her. With his ego damaged, Kostas makes a plan to revenge Rea. By feigning regret and pretending to be still in love with her he persuades her to follow him away from the group to a quiet place. There he abandons her naked. Moreover, he begins a relationship with Rea’s younger sister, Lena, who is still a schoolgirl. Due to her humiliation, Rea stays in her room refusing to see anyone but when she accidentally watches from her window Kostas and Lena leaving together in his car, she decides to take the law in her hands. She grabs her father’s revolver, walks to Kostas’ studio apartment and shoots him. The film finishes with the judges sentencing Rea into five years imprisonment for Kostas’ murder, and an implication that Petros, who is still in love with her, will wait until they can start a new life together.



Despoinis Diefthindis [Miss Director], 1964 1 General information First release: 18 December 1964 Box office ranking 1964–5: 7th out of 93 new productions Tickets (first release cinemas): 402,143 Genre: Comedy Director: Dinos Dimopoulos Script: Asimakis Yialamas, Kostas Pretenderis Photography: Nikos Kavoukidis Music: Mimis Plezas Production Company: Finos Film Starring: Tzeni Karezi (Lila), Alekos Alexandrakis (Alekos), Dionisis Papayiannopoulos (Mr Vasileiou), Lili Papayianni (Athina), Dimitris Nikolaidis (admiral Yelebourdezos), Eleni Zafeiriou (Aleko’s mother), Nitsa Marouda (Viki), Periklis Christoforidis (Yeoryiadis), Yiannis Voyiatzis (messenger), Angelos Andonopoulos (Mr Markakis).

2 Synopsis Lila is a young civil engineer who wants to start a career in the field of constructions. When one of her ex-university professors decides to leave for a professional trip abroad he leaves her temporarily in charge of the construction company he directs. Lila undertakes this challenging task but although she performs well as a director she soon realizes that her successful career reduces her attractiveness as a woman. Despite being surrounded by men at work she receives no erotic advances since the employees admire and respect her as a supervisor. This problem becomes even greater when Lila falls in love with Alekos, a charming second-engineer who despite sharing the same feelings, dares not express them to her – his boss. Lila, in order to attract Alekos, accepts the help of Athina, her cousin, who decides to ‘feminize’ her according to the type of ‘little women’ that Alekos would like. In this way, Lila abandons her smart, serious, moral and workaholic character – which Alekos actually adores – and starts behaving like a completely different person. Similarly, Alekos tries to gain Lila’s heart by abandoning his adventurous erotic life to become a more serious and responsible person. After a series of comic misunderstandings between the two protagonists, the film finishes by showing them admitting their love for each other’s true character.

Primary Sources

Articles from the Greek popular and periodical press Akropolis (22.11.1955), ‘Τα Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος: Η Στέλλα Κατακτά Όλους τους Θεατάς’ [The Films of the Week: Stella Conquers all Viewers], pp. 3–4, review by Vion Papamihalis —(20.03.1956), ‘Τα Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος: Το Κορίτσι με τα Μαύρα’ [Films this Week: A Girl in Black], p. 2, review by Vion Papamihalis —(29.01.1957), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος’ [Films this Week], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(17.12.1957), ‘Τα Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος: Η Θεία από το Σικάγο’ [Films this Week: The Aunt from Chicago], p. 2, review by Vion Papamihalis —(11.03.1958) ‘Τα Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος’ [Films this Week], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(30.03.1958), ‘Το Κράτος Καταδιώκει τις Ελληνικές Ταινίες και Υποστηρίζει τις Ξένες Ταινίες’ [The State Turns Against the Greek Films and Supports the Imported Ones], p. 6, author: Nikos Papadopoulos —(21.10.1960), Advertisement of Mandalena, p. 2 —(22.10.1960), Advertisement of Mandalena, p. 2 —(05.12.1961), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: Κατήφορος’ [Films this Week: The Fall], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(20.10.1964), ‘Ο Κράχτης’ [The Leader], p. n/a, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(08.12.1964), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Films this Week: Miss Director], p. n/a, review by N. Sam. (Full name n/a) Akropolis (20.12.1966), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος’ [The Films this Week], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis Apoyevmatini (22.11.1955), ‘Η Κριτική των Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος: Εξαιρετική η Νέα Ταινία Στέλλα’ [The Critique of the Films this Week: The New Film Stella is Excellent], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(21.03.1956), ‘Η Κριτική των Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος: Το θέατρο εις τον Κινηματογράφο’ [Critiques of the Films this Week: Theatre in Cinema], p. 2, author n/a —(28.01.1957), ‘Τα Φιλμς της Εβδομάδος’ [Films this Week], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis


Primary Sources

—(17.12.1957), ‘Απογευματινές Ώρες: Η Κριτική των Ταινιών Αυτής της Εβδομάδος: Η Θεία από το Σικάγο’ [Afternoon Hours: The Film Critiques this Week: The Aunt from Chicago], p. 2, author n/a —(11.03.1958), ‘Η Κριτική των Ταινιών Αυτής της Εβδομάδος’ [The Critiques of the Films this Week], p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(17.10.1961), ‘Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [Neighbourhood the Dream] p. n/a, review by Vion Papamihalis —(05.12.1961), ‘O Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. 2, review by Vion Papamihalis —(19.10.1964), ‘Ο Κράχτης’ [The Leader], p. n/a, author n/a —(08.12.1964), ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Miss Director], p. 2, review by Eirini Kalkani Apoyevmatini (20.12.1966), ‘Προβάλλονται Εμπορικές Ταινίες: Επιζητούν να Ψυχαγωγήσουν τον Θεατή: Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο’ [Commercial Films on Screen: They Attempt to Entertain the Cinemagoer: Face to Face], p. n/a, review by Eirini Kalkani Athinaia (January 1965), vol. 1, no. 5, ‘Το Τρίτο Φύλο υπό το Πρίσμα της Επιστήμης: 6000 Ομοφυλόφιλοι Κυκλοφορούν στην Πρωτεύουσα’ [The Third Gender Scientifically Explained: 6000 Homosexuals Live in the Capital], p. n/a, author n/a —(10.11.1965), nο. 15, ‘Μαθήτριες Στρπτιζέζ’ [High School Girls become Strippers], author M. Grigoriadis Athinaiki (21.11.1955), ‘Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Οι Νέες Ταινίες: Ένα Καλό Έργο και Μερικές Περιπέτειες’ [Cinema Weekly. The New films: One Good Film and Some Action Films], p. 2, author n/a —(29.01.1957), ‘Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Οι Νέες Ταινίες’ [Cinema Week: The New Films], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(17.12.1957), ‘Η Θεία από το Σικάγο’ [The Aunt from Chicago], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(11.03.1958), ‘Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Οι Νέες Ταινίες: Προβάλλονται Έργα στα Ελληνικά’ [Cinema Week: The New Films: Screening of Films in Greek], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(25.10.1960), ‘Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Οι Νέες Ταινίες’ [Cinema Week: The New Films], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(05.12.1961), ‘Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(20.10.1964), ‘Οι Νέες Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: Εβδομάς Ποιότητος με Πολλές και Καλές Ξένες Ταινίες: Ο Κράχτης’ [The New Films this Week: A Week of Quality with Many Good Foreign Films: The Leader], p. n/a, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(08.12.1964), ‘Οι Ελληνικές Ταινίες: Χρυσή Μετριότης: Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Greek Films: Golden Mediocrity: Miss Director], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou —(20.12.1966), ‘Οι Νέες Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: Μετριότης εν Όψει των Εορτών’ [The New Films this Week: Average Films as We Approach the Festivity Period], p. 2, review by Aglaia Mitropoulou

Primary Sources


Avyi (23.11.1955), ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος: Βούρκος και Τέχνη’ [The Cinema: Bog and Art], p. n/a, review by Kostas Stamatiou —(21.03.1956), ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος: Ένα Βήμα Μπρος, Δύο Βήματα Πίσω’ [The Cinema: One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards], p. 2, review by Kostas Stamatiou —(30.01.1957), ‘Αγιούπα’ [Ayoupa], p. n/a, author n/a —(18.12.1957), ‘Η Θεία από το Σικάγο’ [The Aunt from Chicago], p. 2, review by Kostas Stamatiou —(23.10.1960), Advertisement of Mandalena, p. n/a —(18.10.1961), ‘ “Ο Κινηματογράφος: Αλ. Αλεξανδράκη” Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [The Cinema: Al. Alexandrakis’ ‘Neighbourhood the Dream’], p. 2, author n/a. —(06.12.1961), ‘Δύο Ελληνικές Ταινίες: O Κατήφορος’ [Two Greek Films: The Fall], p. 2, review by Kostas Stamatiou —(20.10.1964), ‘Ο Κράχτης’ [The Leader], p. 2, review by Andonis Moschovakis —(08.12.1964), ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Miss Director], p. 2, author n/a —(25.10.1966), ‘Πετσοκόπηκε Ελληνική Ταινία Επειδή Αναφέρεται στην Ειρήνη’ [Greek Film Strictly Censored Because it Refers to Peace!], p. 2, author n/a —(20.12.1966), ‘Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο’ [Face to Face], p. 2, author n/a Avyi (11.04.1967), ‘Πατέρα Κάτσε Φρόνιμα’ [Father Don’t Be Naughty], p. 2, review by Andonis Moschovakis Dimokratiki Allagi (08.12.1964), ‘Η Γνώμη Μας: Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Our Opinion: Miss Director], p. 4, review by Tonia Marketaki Eikones (1955), no. 1, ‘Στέλλα’ [Stella], pp. 35–7, review by Rozita Sokou —(7.11.1955), ‘Ένα Αστεράκι Γεννιέται: Μπριζίτ Μπαρντό – Η Σταχτομπούτα του Γαλλικού Κινηματογράφου [A Young Star is Born: Brigitte Bardot – The Cinderella of French Cinema]’, pp. 36–8, author: Rozita Sokou —(29.2.1956), ‘Το Εκπληκτικότερο Ταλέντο που Συνάντησα στη Ζωή μου’ [The Greatest Talent I Have Ever Met], p. n/a, author: B. Mingos —(15.05.1964), ���Τα Χρυσά Σκαθάρια’ [The Gold Beatles], pp. 26–33, author: n/a Eleftheria (20.11.1955) ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος: Οι Νέες Ταινίες: Ο Άνθρωπος και τα Μπουζούκια’ [The Cinema. The New Films: Man and the Bouzoukia], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis —(21.03.1956), ‘Το Κορίτσι με τα Μαύρα’ [A Girl in Black], p. 2, author n/a —(30.01.1957), ‘Aγιούπα’ [Ayoupa], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis —(18.12.1957), ‘Η Θεία από το Σικάγο’ [The Aunt from Chicago], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis —(12.03.1958), ‘Μια Ζωή την Έχουμε’ [We Only Live Once], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis —(26.10.1960), ‘Mandalena’, p. 2, review by S. G. (full name n/a) —(18.10.1961), ‘O Κινηματογράφος: Οι Νέες Ταινίες’ [The Cinema: The New Films], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis


Primary Sources

—(06.12.1961), ‘O Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis —(09.12.1964), ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος: Οι Νέες Ταινίες: Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [The Cinema: The New Films: Miss Director], p. 2, review by Marios Ploritis Eleftheria (21.12.1966), ‘O Κινηματογράφος: Οι Νέες Ταινίες: Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο’ [The Cinema: The New Films: Face to Face], p. 2, review by Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos —(November 1961), vol. 6, no. 69, ‘Κινηματογραφικά: Τέσσερις Ταινίες’ [Cinema News: Four Films], p. 32, author n/a Ellinika Themata (February 1967), no. 91–2, ‘Ελληνικός Κινηματογράφος 1967’ [Greek Cinema 1967], author: Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos —(November 1958), no. 20, ‘Κινηματογράφοι, Πλυντήρια και Ταινίες’ [Cinemas, Washing Machines and Films], p. 4, author: Yiorgos Tzavellas Ellinikos Kinimatografos (January–February 1967), vols. 3–4, ‘H Πορεία και οι Προοπτικές του Ελληνικού Κινηματογράφου’ [The Development and the Potentials of Greek Cinema], p. 10, author: D. Savrakas —(March 1967), no. 5, ‘O Nέος Ελληνικός Κινηματογράφος Κερδίζει μια Πρώτη Νίκη’ [The New Greek Cinema Wins its First Battle], Greek translation: Tonia Marketaki, pp. 11–12. author: Louis Marcorelles —(March 1967), no. 5, ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος, η Ελλάδα και το Φολκλόρ’ [Cinema, Greece and Folklore], p. 8, author: Adonis Kirou Epitheorisi Technis (December 1955), vol. 2, no. 12, ‘Στέλλα’ [Stella], pp. 515–16, review by Andonis Moschovakis —(June 1956), vol. 3, no. 18, ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος’ [The Cinema], pp. 519–20, author: Andonis Moschovakis —(January 1957), no. 25, ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος’ [The Cinema], pp. 95–100, author: G. N. Makris —(October 1961), vol. 14, no. 82, ‘Πώς Δουλέψαμε για την Ταινία Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [How We Worked for the Production of Neighbourhood the Dream], pp. 357–65, author: Alekos Alexandrakis —(August–September 1961), nο. 80–1, ‘Συνοικία το Όνειρο και Κράτος ο Φασισμός’ [Neighbourhood the Dream and State the Fascism], pp. 222–3. author: M. S. (full name n/a) —(July 1962), vols. 15–16, no. 91, ‘Η Επιθεώρηση Τέχνης υπό Απαγόρευση’ [Art Review is being banned], p. 109, author n/a Estia (28.01.1957), ‘Αγιούπα’ [Ayoupa], p. 2, author n/a Ethnos (22.11.1955), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, review by Achilleas Mamakis —(20.03.1956), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, review by Achilleas Mamakis

Primary Sources


—(29.01.1957), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, author n/a —(17.12.1957), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη;’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, review by Achilleas Mamakis —(11.03.1958), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη;’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, review by Achilleas Mamakis —(25.10.1960), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη; – Η Μανταλένα’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week? – Mandalena], p. 2, author n/a —(17.10.1961), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη;’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, author n/a —(05.12.1961), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη: Κατήφορος;’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week? The Fall], p. 2, author n/a —(19.10.1964), ‘Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Οι Νέες Ταινίες’ [Cinema Week: The New Films], p. 2, author n/a —(08.12.1964), ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Miss Director], p. 2, review by Maria Papadopoulou —(20.12.1966), ‘Οι Νέες Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: “Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο”: Ένα Έργο Ποιότητος’ [The New Films this Week: ‘Face to Face’: A Quality Film], p. 2, review by Maria Papadopoulou —(11.04.1967), ‘Αθηναϊκά Εικοσιτετράωρα: H Aθηναϊκή Οθόνη: Ποια Ταινία της Εβδομάδος είναι η Καλύτερη;’ [Days in Athens: The Athenian Screen: Which Film is the Best this Week?], p. 2, author n/a Fantasia (14.10.1959), ‘Κώστας Κακκαβάς’ [Kostas Kakkavas], p. n/a, author: Ilias Bakopoulos Films tis Evdomadas, Ta (date n/a), ‘Νόμος 4000’ [Law 4000], special edition, general catalogue of the films 1962–3, p. 46, author n/a —(date n/a), ‘Οργή’ [Anger], special edition, general catalogue of the films 1962–3, p. n/a, author n/a —(20.11.1963), ‘Ίλιγγος’ [Vertigo], p. n/a, author n/a Kallitechniko Panorama (02.08.1965), ‘O Κινηματογράφος και το Γυμνό [Cinema and the Nude]’, pp. 8–11, author n/a —(1965), vol.1, no.2 ‘Μορφωτικός Κινηματογράφος’ [Educational Cinema], p. n/a, author: Polidoros Kalaitzis —(date n/a), no. 5, ‘Tι Κερδίζουν οι Κινηματογράφοι;’ [What is the Profit of Cinemas?], p. n/a, author: Ioannis Tzeverdinos


Primary Sources

Kathimerini, I (23.11.1955) ‘Ο Κόσμος της Οθόνης: Η Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς (Εντυπώσεις και Κρίσεις)’ [The World of the Screen: The Cinema Week (Impressions and Critiques)], p. 2, review by Rozita Sokou —(21.03.1956), ‘Ο Κόσμος της Οθόνης: Η Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς: Εντυπώσεις και Κρίσεις’ [The World of the Screen: The Cinema Week: Impressions and Critiques], p. 2, review by Rozita Sokou —(18.12.1957), ‘Ο Κόσμος της Οθόνης: Η Κινηματογραφική Ζωή (Εντυπώσεις και Κρίσεις)’ [The World of the Screen: Cinema Life (Impressions and Critiques)], p. 2, author n/a —(12.03.1958), ‘Μια Ζωή την Έχουμε’ [We Only Live Once], p. 2, author n/a —(21.10.1960), Advertisement of Mandalena, p. 2 —(23.10.1960), ‘Mandalena’, p. 2, author n/a —(18.10.1961), ‘Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [Neighbourhood the Dream] p. 2, review by Rozita Sokou —(06.12.1961), ‘Ο Κόσμος της Οθόνης: Η Κινηματογραφική Εβδομάς (Εντυπώσεις και Κρίσεις)’ [The World of the Screen: The Cinema Week (Impressions and Critiques)], p. 2, review by Rozita Sokou Kinimatografiki Techni (July 1964), vol. 1, no. 1, ‘Κάποιοι Κριτικοί…’ [Some Critics…], pp. 31–4, author n/a —(October 1964), vol. 1, no. 2, ‘Σενάριο Ένας Τομέας Ουσιώδης Παρεξηγημένος’ [The Scenario is Very Important but also Misunderstood], pp. 26–7, author: Tasos Petri Kinimatografikos Astir (30.11.1955), ‘Στέλλα’ [Stella], p. 6, author n/a —(30.01.1957), vol. 34, no. 2, ‘Aγιούπα’ [Ayoupa], pp. 5–6, author n/a —(30.10.1960), vol. 37, no. 17, ‘Mandalena’, p. 6, author n/a —(December 1961), ‘O Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. n/a, author n/a —(December 1963), vol. 39, no. 20, ‘Κινηματογράφος και η Αγωγή του Λαού’ [Cinema and the Education of the Audience], p. n/a, author n/a —(30.10.1964), vol. 41, no. 16, ‘Ο Κράχτης’ [The Leader], p. n/a, author n/a —(December 1964), no. 954, ‘Η Ψυχολογία του Κινηματογράφου’ [Psychology of Cinema], p. n/a, author: Frixos Iliadis —(15.04.1968), no. 1022, ‘Παιδιά και Κινηματογράφος’ [Children and Cinema], pp. 9–11, author: Kiriakos Katranidis Kinimatografos-Theatro (April 1960), no. 1, ‘Συνομιλία με τον Μιχάλη Κακογιάννη’ [A Conversation with Michalis Cacoyiannis], pp. 3–8, authors: Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos and Leontas Loisios Makedonia (02.12.1961), ‘Γυναίκα εις την Πολιτικήν’ [Women in Politics], author: Meropi Tsiomou-Vasilikou Mesimvrini (16.10.1961), ‘Πτώχεια Κόσμον Φέρει’ [Poverty Attracts Audiences], p. n/a, review by Rozita Sokou —(04.12.1961), ‘Η Σελίς του Κινηματογράφου: O Κατήφορος’ [The Cinema Page: The Fall], p. n/a, author n/a

Primary Sources


—(08.12.1964), ‘Η Σελίς του Κινηματογράφου: Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [The Cinema Page: Miss Director], p. n/a, review by Mirella Georgiadou —(20.12.1966), ‘Η Σελίς του Κινηματογράφου: Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο’ [The Cinema Page: Face to Face], p. n/a, review by Mirella Georgiadou Nea, Ta (11.03.1958), ‘Ποιό Φίλμ να Ιδήτε’ [Which Film You Must See], p. 2, author n/a —(05.12.1958), ‘Συνοικέσια’ [Matchmakings], p. 4, author n/a —(24.10.1960), ‘Συνοικέσια’ [Matchmakings], p. 4, author n/a Nea Estia (date n/a), ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος: Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [The Cinema: Neighbourhood the Dream], pp. 1467–8, review by G. N. Makris (Note: document found in the personal archive of Yiannis Soldatos, Folder 2, 1960–2) Othoni (20.05.1957), ‘Για την Ταινία Μια Ζωή την Έχουμε: Έρχεται η Υβόν Σανσόν!’ [For the Film We Only Live Once: Yvonne Sanson is Coming!], p. n/a, author: G. K. Lefkofridis Pantheon (9.5.1962), ‘Ταινίες Μορφωτικές’ [Educational Films], p. 30, author n/a —(08.04.1964), ‘Μπητλς: Η Υστερία της Εποχής’ [Beatles: The Madness of our Time], pp. 8–9, author: Vilfrint Ahterfeld —(19.01.1966), ‘Η Σεξουαλική Αγωγή των Εφήβων: Ένα Πρόβλημα Τζούνιορ’ [Sexual Education for Teenagers: A Junior Problem], pp. 102–3, author n/a Romantso (02.08.1960), ‘Κώστας Κακκαβάς’ [Kostas Kakkavas], p. 19, author: Spiros Galaios —(23.8.1960), ‘Λάμπρος Κωνσταντάρας: Ο Δημιουργικός’ [Lambros Konstandaras: A Creative Man], p.18, author: Spiros Galaios Sinema (15.01.1966), ‘Β.Β: Αφήστε με Ήσυχη…Το Σώμα μου, μου Ανήκει’ [B.B. Leave me alone…My Body Belongs to Me], p. n/a, author n/a Soldatos (1), undefined document found in the personal archive of Yiannis Soldatos, Folder 2 (1960–1962), possibly Athenian popular magazine of the 1960s, p. n/a, author n/a Theamata, Ta (31.10.1960), ‘Mandalena’, p. n/a, author n/a —(15.03.1961), ‘Να Σταματήσει η Αφθαίρετος και Παράνομος Επέμβασις των Γυμνασιαρχών στον Κινηματογράφο’ [The Ιllegal Αctions Taken by School Directors in Cinemas Must Stop], p. 3, author: N. Dimakopoulos —(23.08.1961), ‘Μήνυσις για την Μανταλένα’ [Sue for Mandalena], p. 2, author: Donatos Dallas —(25.10.1961), vol. 5, no. 96, ‘Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [Neighbourhood the Dream], p. n/a, author n/a —(31.12.1961), vol. 5, no.100, ‘O Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. n/a, author n/a —(31.03.1962), ‘Ο Κινηματογράφος σαν Κοινωνικό Φαινόμενο’ [Cinema as a Social Phenomenon], p. n/a, author: Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos —(30.04.1964), ‘Η Κριτική και η Ταινία’ [Film and Critique], p. n/a, author: Dimitris Papadopoulos


Primary Sources

—(31.10.1964), vol. 8, no.160, ‘Ο Κράχτης’ [The Leader], p. n/a, author n/a —(15.05.1965), ‘H Λογοκρισία σε Όλο τον Κόσμο’ [Censorship around the World], author: Jacquelin Fabre —(28.12.1965) ‘Το Πρόβλημα του Ελληνικού Κινηματογράφου’ [The Problem of Greek Cinema], p. n/a, author: Yiannis Bakoyiannopoulos —(15.05.1966), ‘Ο Άνθρωπος που Έφερε τη Χαρά του Κινηματογράφου στους Μετανάστες’ [The Man who Gave the Joy of Greek Cinema to the Migrants], p.10, author: S. B. (full name n/a) —(30.9.1967), vol. 11, no. 218, ‘Αυστηραί Διατάξεις δια τα Ακατάλληλα: Θα Τιμωρούνται και οι Κηδεμόνες’ [Strict Rules for the X-rated: Parents will also be Penalized], p. n/a, author n/a —(31.12.1967), ‘Τα Κινηματογραφικά Κίνητρα εν Ελλάδι – Γιατί πάει ο Κόσμος Κινηματογράφο’ [Cinematic Motives in Greece – Why do People Go to the Cinema?], p. 14, author: Neoklis Sarris Thisavros (20.06.1963), ‘Μπριζίτ Μπαρντό: Το Σύμβολο του Σεξ’, [Brigitte Bardot: A Sex Symbol], p. n/a, author n/a —(19.11.1964), ‘Γυναίκες Καλύψτε τα Γυμνά’ [Women Cover your Nudeness], p. n/a, author: P. Palaiologos Vima, To (20.03.1956), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος’ [Films this Week], p. n/a, author n/a —(25.10.1960), ‘Καθημερινή Ζωή’ [Everyday Life], p. n/a, review by G. P. Savvidis —(21.12.1966), ‘Πρόσωπο με Πρόσωπο: Η Βραβευμένη Ταινία του Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκης’ [Face to Face: The Award-winning Film in Thessaloniki Festival], p. n/a, review by Kostis Skalioras Vradini, I (21.11.1955), ‘Λίγα Λόγια για Κάθε Νέα Ταινία που Παίζεται Αυτή τη Βδομάδα’ [Some Comments for Every New Film this Week], p. n/a, author n/a —(28.01.1957), ‘Οι Ταινίες της Εβδομάδος: Η Ελληνική Αγιούπα’ [Films this Week: The Greek Ayoupa], p. n/a, author n/a. —(16.10.1961), ‘Συνοικία το Όνειρο’ [Neighbourhood the Dream], p. 2, review by Andonis Kiriakopoulos —(04.12.1961), ‘O Κατήφορος’ [The Fall], p. 2, author n/a —(07.12.1964), ‘Δεσποινίς Διευθυντής’ [Miss Director], p. 5, review by Andonis Kiriakopoulos

Articles from the international popular and periodical press BFI (1), Document found in British Film Institute off-prints collection in English, published by the Gala Film Distributors

Primary Sources


—(2) Letter entitled ‘Letter from a young Greek citizen to the director of the film’, found in an advertisement of the film in the British Film Institute off-prints collection —(3) Review of the film Face to Face by Barbe Funk found in the British Film Institute off-prints collection from an undefined source Bianco e Nero (May 1967), vol. 28, no. 5, ‘Puo il Cinema Greco Essere Salvato?’, pp. 16–34, author: Gideon Bachman Cahiers du Cinéma (February 1957), vol. 12, no. 68, ‘Mélo et Choeur Antique’, vol. 12, no. 68, p. 51, review by A. B. (full name n/a) Cinéma (1968), no. 128, ‘Face a Face: Satire sur l’ Acropole’, pp. 114–18, review by Raymond Lefevre Cinema Nuovo (July–August 1964), no. 13, ‘Una Difesa del Cinema Greco’, p. 260. author: Emanuele Mavrommatis Cinema, The (15.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. 8, review by M. M. W. (full name n/a) —(1966), quoted from an advertisement of the film: Face to Face, found in the BFI archive, off-prints collection, review by Martin Marlen Cinématographie Française, La (23.04.1955), ‘Gréce: Stella’, p. n/a, author n/a —(20.05.1961), ‘Mandalena’, p. 5, author n/a Daily Cinema, The (12.02.1960), ‘Bed of Grass’, p. 4, review by F. J. (full name n/a) Daily Express (17.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, author n/a —(20.11.1956), ‘The Week’s New Films: Why I Think that My Miss Fury is Better a Rival for Magnani…’, p. n/a, review by Leonard Mosley Daily Film Renter, The (13.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. 4, review by F. J. (full name n/a) —(04.12.1956), ‘A Girl in Black’, p. 5, review by F. J. (full name n/a) Daily Herald (17.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Anthony Carthew Daily Mail (30.11.1956), ‘Hot Blood’, p. n/a, author n/a Daily News (30.11.1956), ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, author n/a Daily Telegraph, The (18.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Peter Gibbs —(01.12.1956), ‘Primitive Greek’, p. n/a, review by Campbell Dixon Daily Worker (01.12.1956), ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, review by Robert Kennedy —(06.02.1960), ‘Agioupa: Grass Struggle’, p. n/a, review by Nina Hubbin Evening News (29.11.1956), ‘Romance from Greece’, p. n/a, review by Jympson Harman Evening Standard (18.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Alan Brien —(29.11.1956), ‘Here is a New Garbo’, p. n/a, review by Philip Oakes Film Daily, The (21.06.1957), ‘Film Daily Reviews of New Pictures: Bed of Grass’, p. 3, author n/a —(21.06.1957), ‘Stella’, p. 3, author n/a —(17.11.1959), vol. 116, no. 96, ‘Boom Looms for Greek Industry’, pp. 1–3, author: Hasley Raines Film Français, Le (22.02.1957), ‘Stella: Femme Libre’, p. 22, author n/a Film Français, Le – Cinémato, La (22.12.1967), Face à Face, p. n/a, author n/a


Primary Sources

Films and Filming (May 1957), vol. 3, no. 8, ‘Greece’, p. 31, author: George Lazarou —(June 1963), ‘Greek to Me’, p. 19, author: Michael Cacoyiannis —(March 1969), vol. 15, no. 6, ‘Face to Face’, p. 52, review by Richard Davis Films in Review (April 1957), vol. 8, no. 4, ‘Stella’, pp. 173–4, review by Romano Tozzi —(October 1957), vol. 8, no. 8, ‘A Girl in Black’, pp. 406–7, review by Romano Tozzi Financial Times (20.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Derek Guarger —(03.12.1956), ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, review by Derek Guarger —(08.02.1960), ‘Agioupa’, p. n/a, review by N. Robinson Gazzete de Lausanne (date n/a), advertisement of the film Face to Face, document found in the BFI archive, off-prints collection, author: Louis Marcorelles Hollywood Reporter, The (18.01.1965), vol. 183, no. 48, p. 1, author n/a Intermezzo (15.05.1958), vol. 13, no. 9, ‘Il Cinema in Grecia’, p. 7, author n/a Journal of the British Film Academy (September 1956), ‘Self-regulation or State Control? Film Censorship’, p. 9, author: Stanley Reed. Kinematograph Weekly (23.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p 17, review by S. S. (full name n/a) —(06.12.1956), ‘A Girl in Black’, p. 25, author n/a —(11.02.1960), ‘Bed of Grass’, p. 31, author n/a. Manchester Guardian, The (01.12.1956), ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, author n/a Monthly Film Bulletin, The (October 1956), vol. 23, no. 273, ‘Stella’, pp. 127–8, review by Penelope Houston —(January 1957), vol. 24, no. 276, ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra (A Girl in Black), Greece 1955’, p. 3, review by D. H. (full name n/a) —(March 1960), vol. 27, no. 314, ‘Agioupa (Bed of Grass)’, p. 36, author n/a Motion Picture Herald (1967), vol. 237, no. 49, ‘Greece’, pp. 17–18, author: Rena Velissariou —(03.09.1960), vol. 220, no. 10, ‘The Aunt from Chicago’, p. 829, author n/a —(13.12.1961), ‘Greece’, pp. 26–7, author: Rena Velissariou National Film Theatre (April 1978), ‘Michael Cacoyiannis: Stella’, p. 25, author n/a New Statesman (01.12.1956) ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, review by William Whitebait New York Times, The (28.12.1957), ‘Agioupa’, p. n/a, author n/a News Chronicle (30.11.1956), ‘Seeing’, p. n/a, review by Paul Dehn Observer, The (02.12.1956), ‘At the Films. A Greek Tragedy’, p. n/a, review by C. A. Lejeune Positif (January 1957), vol. 2, no. 20, ‘La Fille en Noir’, p. 46, review by Panagiotis Philippides —(February 1968), vol. 92, ‘Avant le Coup d’Etat’, pp. 68–70, author: Jean-Louis Pays Saturday Review (16.03.1957), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Arthur Knight —(05.10.1957), ‘To Koritsi me ta Mavra’, p. n/a, review by Arthur Knight Sight and Sound (September 1956), vol. 26, no. 2, ‘Stella’, p. 96, review by Penelope Houston

Primary Sources


—(November 1956), vol. 26, no. 3, ‘A Girl in Black’, p. 154, review by Karel Reisz Spectator, The (24.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by David Stone —(07.12.1956), ‘A Tragedy From Greece’, p. n/a, review by Isabel Quigly —(12.02.1960), ‘Agioupa’, p. n/a, review by Isabel Quigly Star, The (17.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Roy Nash Sunday Dispatch (02.12.1956), ‘A Girl in Black’, p. n/a, author n/a Sunday Times, The (02.12.1956), ‘Tragic Face’, p. n/a, review by Dilys Powell —(07.02.1960), ‘Agioupa’, p. n/a, review by Dilys Powell Telegraph (08.02.1960), ‘Other New Films: Agioupa’, p. n/a, review by C. Dixon Time (07.10.1956), ‘Cinema’, p. n/a, author n/a Time and Tide (08.12.1956), ‘Films’, p. n/a, author n/a Times, The (20.08.1956), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, author n/a —(03.12.1956), ‘A Modern Greek Tragedy on the Screen: Mr Cacoyiannis’ A Girl in Black’, p. n/a, author n/a Variety (11.05.1955), ‘Foreign Films: Stella’, p. n/a, review by Mosk (full name n/a) —(01.05.1957), ‘Stella’, p. n/a, review by Hift (full name n/a) —(17.05.1961), ‘Mandalena (Greek)’, p. n/a, review by Mosk (full name n/a)

List of Greek film journals, magazines and newspapers cited Newspapers Akropolis Alitheia Apoyevmatini Athinaiki Avyi Dimokratiki Allagi Eleftheria Estia Ethnos Kathimerini, I Makedonia Mesimvrini Nea, Ta Vima, To Vradini, I

Primary Sources


Cinema magazines – Film/art journals Elliniko Theatro Ellinikos Kinimatografos Epitheorisi Technis Films tis Evdomadas, Ta Kallitechnika Chronika Kallitechniki Kallitechniko Panorama Kinimatografiki Techni Kinimatografikos Astir Kinimatografos-Theatro Nea Estia Othoni Sinema

Popular magazines Athinaia Domino Eikones Ellinika Themata Fantasia Fantasia kai Aisthima Fantazio Pantheon Romantso Thisavros Vendeta Yinaika

List of international film journals, magazines and newspapers cited Newspapers Daily Express (UK) Daily Herald (UK) Daily Mail (UK)

Primary Sources

Daily News (US) Daily Sketch (UK) Daily Telegraph, The (UK) Daily Worker (UK) Evening News (UK) Evening Standard (UK) Financial Times (UK) Gazzete de Lausanne (CH) Manchester Guardian, The (UK) New York Times, The (US) News Chronicle (UK) News of the World (UK) Observer, The (UK) People, The (UK) Saturday Review (UK) Star, The (UK) Sunday Dispatch (UK) Sunday Express (UK) Sunday Times, The (UK) Telegraph (UK) Times, The (UK) Tribune (UK)

Film journals/film magazines Bianco e Nero (IT) Cahiers du Cinéma (FR) Cineaste (US) Cinéma (FR) Cinema Nuovo (IT) Cinema, The (UK) Cinémato, La (FR) Cinématographie Française, La (FR) Daily Cinema, The (UK) Daily Film Renter, The (UK) Film Criticism (US) Film Daily, The (US) Film Français, Le (FR) Film Quarterly (US) Films and Filming (UK)



Primary Sources

Films in Review (US) Hollywood Reporter, The (US) Image et Son (FR) Intermezzo (IT) Journal of the British Film Academy, The (UK) Kinematograph Weekly (UK) Monthly Film Bulletin (UK) Motion Picture Herarld (US) National Film Theatre (UK) Positif (FR) Sight and Sound (UK) Today’s Cinema (US) Variety (UK)

Magazines New Statesman (UK) People (US) Saturday Review (US) Spectator (UK) Time (US) Time and Tide (UK)

Filmography Agapi pou den Svinei o Chronos [Eternal love], 1966 Amartola Heria [Sinful Hands], 1963 Astero, 1958 Ayoupa, to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass], 1957 Dama Spathi [Queen of Clubs], 1966 Despoinis Diefthindis [Miss Director], 1964 Despoinis Eton 39 [Miss at the Age of 39], 1954 Enas Iros me Pandoufles [A Hero in Slippers], 1958 Fouskothalassies [Wavy Sea], 1966 Htipokardia sta Thrania [Highschool Love], 1963 I Aliki sto Naftiko [Aliki in the Navy], 1961 I de Yini na Foveitai ton Andra [A Wife Shall Fear of Her Husband], 1965 I Kira mas i Mammi [Our Midwife], 1958 I Kiria Dimarchos [Mrs Mayor], 1960

Primary Sources

I Kori mou Sosialistria [My Socialist Daughter], 1966 I Theia apo to Sikago [The Aunt from Chicago], 1957 I Vouleftina [A Woman in the Parliament], 1966 Iie mou Iie mou [My Dear Son], 1965 Ilingos [Vertigo], 1963 Kati Kourasmena Pallikaria [Tired Lads], 1967 Katiforos [The Fall], 1961 Kiriakatiko Xipnima [Windfall in Athens], 1954 Ktipokardia sto Thranio [School Love], 1963 La Dolce Vita [The Sweet Life], 1960 Lolites tis Athinas [Athenian Lolitas], 1965 Mayiki Poli [Magic City], 1954 Makrikosteoi kai Kontoyioryides [Vendetta], 1960 Mandalena, 1960 Mia Zoi tin Ehoume [We Live Only Once], 1958 Moderna Stahtombouta [Modern Cinderella], 1965 Nomos 4000 [Law 4000], 1960 O Bambas Ekpaidevetai [Educating my Dad], 1953 O Drakos [The Ogre of Athens], 1956 O Gambros mou o Dikigoros [My Son in Law is a Lawyer], 1962 O Kazanovas [The Casanova], 1963 O kir Yioryis Ekpaidevetai [Educating Mr Yiorgis], 1977 O Krahtis [The Leader], 1964 O Loustrakos [The Little Shoe Shiner], 1962 O Mitros kai o Mitrousis stin Athina [Mitros and Mitrousis in Athens], 1960 O Papatrehas [The Running-father], 1966 O Telefteos Peirasmos [The Last Temptation], 1964 O Theodoros kai to Dikano [Theodoros and his Shotgun], 1962 O Thimios sti Hora tou Strip-tease [Thimios in the Land of Strip-tease], 1963 O Thimios ta Ekane Thalassa [Thimios Messed It Up], 1959 O Thimios ta’hei 400 [Thimios is A Clever Man], 1960 O Thisavros tou Makariti [The Dead Man’s Treasure], 1959 Oi Assoi tou Yipaidou [The Football Stars], 1956 Oi Ouranoi einai Dikoi mas [The Skies are Ours], 1953 Oi Thalassies oi Handres [Blue Beads], 1967 Oloi oi Antres Einai oi Idioi [Men Will Always Be…Men], 1966 Oryi [Anger], 1962 Patera Katse Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty], 1967 Pikro Psomi [Bitter Bread], 1951 Prosopo me Prosopo [Face to Face], 1966 Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream], 1961



Primary Sources

Stefania, 1966 Stella, 1955 Ta Kitrina Gandia [The Yellow Gloves], 1960 Ta Mistika tis Amartolis Athinas [Secrets of the Sinful City of Athens], 1966 Thanasakis o Politevomenos [Thanasakis Becomes a Politician], 1954 To Klotsoskoufi [The Dummy], 1960 To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black], 1956 To Nisi ton Yennaion [The Island of the Brave], 1959 To Remali tis Fokionos Negri [The Tramp of Fokionos Negri], 1965 To Xilo Vyike apo ton Paradeiso [Spanking Started in Heavens], 1959 Tzeni-Tzeni, 1966 Zorba the Greek, 1964

TV shows Enopios Enopio [Face to Face], 1994, MEGA channel Greece, Nikos Kourkoulos’ interview with Nikos Hadjinikolaou. Available in DVD. Reportaz Horis Sinora [Reportage Without Borders], 19.04.2007, ‘Τα Δικά Μας 60s: Mέρος Πρώτο: Μια Χώρα που Θέλει να Ζήσει’ [Our 60s: Part 1: A Country Struggles to Survive], hosted by Greek National Television Station.

Bibliography Adams, Michael (1994), ‘Men in America: Two Studies in Gender History’, Reviews in American History, 22 (1), 14–19. Allen, Judith (1987), ‘ “Mundane” Men: Historians, Masculinity and Masculinism’, Historical Studies, 22 (89), 617–28. Allen, Peter (1993), ‘Διαχείρηση και Επίλυση των Διαφορών στη Μάνη: Η Βεντέτα στο Σύγχρονο Πλαίσιο’ [Management and Resolution of Problems in Mani. Vendetta in a Contemporary Context], in Evthymios Papataxiarchis and Theodoros Paradellis (eds), Ανθρωπολογία και Παρελθόν: Συμβολές στην Κοινωνική Ιστορία της Νεότερης Ελλάδας [Anthropology and the Past. Contributions to the Social History of Modern Greece] 2nd edn (Athens: Alexandreia), 135–56. —(2004), ‘Επιτόπια Έρευνα σ’ ένα Ελληνικό Χωριό: Παρελθόν και Παρον’ [Fieldwork in a Greek Village: Past and Present], in Όψεις της Ανθρωπολογικής Σκέψης και Έρευνας στην Ελλάδα [Views on the Anthropological Thought and Research in Greece] (Athens: Greek Society for Ethnology), 91–116. Allen, Robert and Gomery, Douglas (1985), Film History: Theory and Practice (New York: McGraw-Hill). Ananidis, Andreas (2007), Από τον Καραγκίοζη στον Βέγγο: Μελέτη της Επιρροής του Θεάτρου Σκιών στην Ελληνική Κινηματογραφική Κωμωδία κατά την περίοδο 1950–1969 [From Karangiozis to Vengos: Studying the Influence of the Theatre of Shadows in Greek Film Comedy during the period 1950–1969] (Athens: Aigokeros). Andritsos, Giorgos (2004), Κατοχή και Αντίσταση στον Ελληνικό Κινηματογράφο 1945–1966 [Military Occupation and Resistance in Greek Cinema 1945–1966] (Athens: Aigokeros). Arambantzis, Yiorgos (1991), Λαϊκισμός και Kινηματογράφος: Μελέτη για τον Eλληνικό Λαϊκό Κινηματογράφο της Δεκαετίας του ‘60 [Poplarism and Cinema: A Study on Greek Popular Cinema during the 1960s] (Athens: Aigokeros). Athanasatou, Yianna (2001), Ελληνικός Kινηματογράφος (1950–67): Λαϊκή Μνήμη και Ιδεολογία [Greek Cinema: People’s Memory and Ideology] (Athens: FinatecMultimedia A. E.). Augé, Marc (1995), Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, trans. John Howe (London: Verso). Avdela, Efi (1990), Δημόσιοι Yπάλληλοι Γένους Θηλυκού. Καταμερισμός της Εργασίας κατά Φύλα στο Δημόσιο Τομέα, 1908–1955 [Civil Servants of Female Gender. Sexual Division of Labour in the Public Sector, 1908–1955] (Athens: IEPETE).

298 Bibliography —(1999), ‘Work, Gender & History in the 1990s and Beyond’, Gender & History, 11 (3), 528–41. —(2002), ‘Δια Λόγους Tιμής’: Βία, Αισθήματα και Αξίες στη Μετεμφυλιακή Ελλάδα [‘For Reasons of Honour’: Violence, Emotions and Values in Post-civil-war Greece] (Athens: Nefeli). —(2005), ‘ “Φθοροποιοί και Aνεξέλεγκτοι Aπασχολήσεις”: Ο Hθικός Πανικός για τη Νεολαία στη Μεταπολεμική Ελλάδα [‘Corrupting and Uncontrollable Activities’: Moral Panic about Youth in Post-civil-war Greece], Sinkrona Themata, 90 (1), 30–43. Avdikos, Vangelis (1991), Πρέβεζα 1945–1990. Όψεις της Μεταβολής μιας Επαρχιακής Πόλης: Λαογραφική Εξέταση [Preveza 1945–1990. Changes in a Provincial Town: A Folkloric Study] (Preveza: Ekdoseis Dimou Prevezas). Baker, Brian (2006), Masculinity in Fiction and Film: Representing Men in Popular Genres, 1945–2000 (London and New York: Continuum). Ballantyne, Tony and Burton, Antoinette (eds) (2005), Bodies in Contact. Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History (North Carolina: Duke University Press). Banfield, Edward and Banfield, Laura Fasano (1958), The Moral Basis of a Backward Society (New York: Free Press). Bell-Metereau, Rebecca Louise (1993), Hollywood Androgyny 2nd edn (New York: Columbia University Press). Bennett, Judith M. (2006), History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Manchester: Manchester University Press). Benshoff, Harry and Griffin, Sean (2004), America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies (Malden, MA: Blackwell). Blackwell, Marilyn Johns (1997), Gender and Representation in the Films of Ingmar Bergman (Columbia, SC: Camden House). Bock, Gizela (1989), ‘Women’s History and Gender History: Aspects of an International Debate’, Gender & History, 1 (1), 7–30. Boulay, Juliet du (1974), A Portrait of a Greek Mountain Village (Oxford: Oxford University Press). —(1976), ‘Lies, Mockery and Family Integrity’, in John Peristiany (ed.), Mediterranean Family Structures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 389–406. —(1986), ‘Women-Images Their Nature and Destiny in Rural Greece’, in Jill Dubisch (ed.), Gender and Power in Rural Greece (New Jersey: Princeton University Press), 139–68. —(1991), ‘Cosmos and Gender in Village Greece’, in Peter Loizos and Evthymios Papataxiarchis (eds), Contested Identities: Gender and Kinship in Modern Greece (New Jersey: Princeton University Press), 47–78. Bourdieu, Pierre (1984), Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul). Bourke, Joanna (1996), Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War (London: Reaktion Books).



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Index abortions 34, 59, 202, 248 Alexandrakis, Alekos 88, 97, 191, 230, 249 Antiparos 110 Asirmatos 169, 170 Athens 10, 26–8, 30, 34, 38, 43, 50–1, 62, 67, 75, 84, 86–7, 96, 99, 107, 114, 120, 126, 128, 142, 143, 145–7, 151, 166, 168–70, 172–3, 175, 177, 180, 185, 192, 213, 218, 226, 234, 247 Ayoupa, to Koritsi tou Kambou [Bed of Grass] (1957) 101, 102, 105–6, 110–11, 113–14, 118, 129, 130, 132, 136, 138, 139, 142, 144, 146, 192, 248, 251 backwardness 22, 105, 114, 148 Balkanism 19 Bardot, Brigitte 144, 160, 203 Beatles, The 160 blue-collar 59, 90, 134, 150–1, 162, 211 body female 76, 78, 91, 130, 145, 151, 180, 182, 187, 193, 196, 197, 202, 204–5, 264 male 182, 204–5, 264 bouzoukia 84, 127, 209, 222, 234, 237–8, 243, 246, 249, 251 Cacoyannis, Michalis 84, 102, 105, 109, 111, 112–13, 116, 130–1, 140, 142–3, 145, 147, 162, 164, 174, 189, 197–9, 204, 206–11, 222–3, 231, 233–5, 237, 240–1, 243, 246–7, 249, 250–1, 261 censorship 2, 6, 73, 74, 75, 97, 106, 124, 154–6, 169, 191, 240, 257 cineromanzi 80, 173, 203, 243, 263 commercial cinema 6, 202 consumer culture 29, 41, 76, 172 consumerism 4, 25, 30, 50, 60, 92, 100–1, 138–9, 146, 167, 168, 172, 183, 217, 248, 254, 258, 262

contraception 34, 173 counter-modernity 157 countryside 2, 25, 27, 28, 30, 33, 34, 42, 51, 52, 53, 69, 75, 86, 87, 101, 102, 105, 108, 111–13, 119, 122, 126, 132, 138, 139–40, 145, 147, 258 Crete 234, 250 crimes of honour 52, 115, 214 criminality 49, 50, 93, 100 cultural transfers 1, 4, 23, 29, 50, 126, 165, 167, 172, 173, 200–2, 217, 224, 227, 234, 238, 242, 252 Damaskinos-Mihailidis 71, 110 demography 4, 11, 25, 101, 255 Despoinis Diefthindis [Miss Director] (1964) 141, 195, 200, 210–13, 217, 219, 227–9, 231, 239, 240, 242 Dimopoulos, Dinos 95, 144, 219, 228, 240 domesticity 6, 20, 102, 126, 262 dowry 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 42, 51, 59, 62, 162–3, 188, 219, 248 dropi 14, 51, 59, 62, 254 economy 25, 26, 32, 57, 74 effeminate men 90 egoism 12, 131 eneryia 12 entertainment 4, 10, 25, 62, 65–6, 72, 76, 85, 101, 106, 124, 127, 142, 146, 165, 183, 210, 217, 227, 228, 256, 260, 263–4 Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (E.A.M.) 39 Europe 19, 31, 33, 39, 41, 44, 62, 66, 72, 96 exoticism 19, 23, 106, 108, 109, 112, 119, 139, 140, 209, 238, 254, 261 family law bill 40 fashion 25, 38, 61, 76, 80, 103, 123, 196, 217, 219, 228, 264

314 Index female emancipation 4, 37, 51, 172–3, 230, 260–1 femininity 2, 7, 28, 41, 49, 51–3, 61, 84, 92, 102, 114, 120–1, 123, 127–8, 133, 152, 170, 175–6, 184, 196, 203, 207–8, 211–12, 217, 219, 222, 228–9, 231, 233–4, 250, 254–5, 258, 260, 263 femme fatale 179, 214, 216, 231 fertility 34, 59 Finos Film 71, 73–4, 188, 203–4, 245 Foundas, Yiorgos 88, 150, 154, 204, 237, 249, 264 Gallant, Thomas 57, 58, 60 gender identities 1, 21, 23, 49, 50, 75, 84, 103, 104, 121, 125, 130, 140, 146, 149, 153, 164, 166, 203, 206, 216, 226–9 relations 1, 2, 6, 11, 19, 21, 32, 33, 37, 39, 47, 84–5, 104–5, 109, 111–12, 122, 125, 140, 143, 154, 156–7, 172, 190, 194, 197, 202, 226, 228, 231, 236, 238 spheres 4, 13, 21, 22, 25, 28, 33, 37, 50, 54, 84, 107, 125, 157, 167, 172, 182–3, 192, 194, 204, 216, 231, 233, 237–8 generation gap 5, 47, 92, 201, 216, 218 genres 7, 80, 85–7, 91, 97–8, 137, 144, 164, 183, 209, 217, 258, 262 German occupation of Greece 39, 66, 73 Germany 31, 55, 96, 128 Greek Civil War 1, 2, 3, 25, 39, 66, 75, 156 gros plan 117, 158, 177 hegemonic masculinity 130, 133–4, 137, 150, 159, 165, 179, 204, 259 hegemony 3, 21, 130–1, 149, 156, 158, 165, 175, 208, 259, 262, 264 Herzfeld, Michael 55 higher education 2, 12, 27, 34, 40–2, 44, 46, 47, 59, 61, 134, 147, 187, 212 Hollywood 65–6, 84, 87, 92, 96, 98, 99, 122, 160, 173, 179, 189, 197, 201, 215 homosexuality 21, 52, 90 honour 2, 11, 12, 13, 15–17, 19, 20–1, 29, 42, 47, 51–3, 55, 56, 63, 92, 105–6,

114–15, 117–18, 125, 128, 133–4, 136–7, 139, 144–5, 150, 153, 158, 162–3, 170–1, 178, 182, 185, 196, 204, 207, 213, 215, 217, 236, 242, 244, 254, 258, 260 honour and shame 2, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 29, 52–3, 92, 105–6, 114, 118, 128, 139, 145, 150, 162, 170–1, 178, 182, 217, 242, 254 housewives 40, 227 Hydra 102, 105–6, 113, 117, 120, 129, 130, 131, 134, 243 I Theia apo to Sikago [The Aunt from Chicago] (1957) 195, 196, 200, 206, 208, 213, 217, 219, 220, 222, 226–7, 231, 239, 243, 252 Italy 31, 66, 155, 159, 187, 189, 248 kafeneion 12, 13, 55 kamakia, 16, 17 Karezi, Tzeni, 89, 230 Katiforos [The Fall] (1961) 100, 195, 199, 200, 201–5, 207, 213–14, 217–22, 224, 225–7, 231, 233–4, 239, 241, 243, 248 kefi 13, 55, 233, 237, 254 kerasma 13, 254 Konstandaras, Lambros 108, 142 Kourkoulos, Nikos 88, 202, 203, 245, 264 labour 2, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25–6, 32–5, 37, 40–1, 60, 61, 102, 104–6, 123, 126, 134, 141, 144, 150–1, 156, 159, 171, 176, 184, 186, 191, 211–12, 217, 219, 229, 230, 231, 246, 249, 254–5, 258, 260, 264–5 Lambeti, Elli 116–17 Laskari, Zoi 82, 89, 193, 202–4, 245, 246 Lassally, Walter 109 Law 4000 50, 62, 100, 107, 141, 245, 247, 248 locality 1, 3, 4, 101–2, 125, 137, 140, 192, 195, 231, 255, 259, 262, 264 Loren, Sophia 160–1, 198 Mandalena (1960) 101 mangas 17, 18, 56, 192, 210, 246

Index manliness 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 50, 54, 197, 210, 237, 258 Manthoulis, Roviros 151–2, 165, 166, 173–4, 175, 180, 186 marriage 14, 16, 17, 18, 30, 33, 39, 41–2, 47, 50–1, 55, 59, 76, 85, 118, 123, 129, 144, 162, 170–1, 188, 207, 209, 211, 214, 216, 221, 222, 225, 227, 231, 234, 246, 260, 262 masculinity crisis 3, 103, 120, 149, 156, 163, 167, 177, 186, 259 master-provider 21 Mastroianni, Marcello 160 material culture 29, 30, 76, 103, 106, 123, 129, 138, 165, 196, 201, 217, 220, 221, 239, 242, 260, 264 matriarchy 159 Mediterranean cultures 19, 20, 21, 22 Mediterraneanism 19 Merkouri, Melina 198, 237 Mia Zoi tin Ehoume [We Live Only Once] (1958) 149 migration external 3, 26, 29, 30, 58, 254 internal 28, 29, 51, 52 modernization 11, 25, 80, 120, 169, 221, 248 morality 3, 4, 15, 19, 20, 28, 30, 51, 52, 80, 88, 92, 100–1, 106, 111, 117–18, 120, 126, 128, 138, 146, 162, 165, 170, 179, 183–4, 186, 195, 200, 202, 207, 218, 232, 240 motherhood 34, 39, 171, 202 Mulvey, Laura 197, 202, 244, 245 muteness 21, 144, 206 narrative cinema 5 neorealism 144, 155, 190, 191 O Krahtis [The Leader] (1964) 149, 150–4, 157–8, 163, 165, 170, 177, 180, 182, 184–5, 248, 250 objectification 182 Old Greek cinema 6, 86, 265 Orientalism 19 pallikari 15, 16, 49, 51, 62, 121, 133, 136, 144, 147, 207–8, 210, 225, 240, 246, 254, 258–9, 262


Papamihail, Dimitris 88, 122, 133, 188, 264 passiveness 20, 58, 180, 228 pater familias 21, 176, 196, 213, 226–7, 243, 255, 258–9 Patera Katse Fronima [Father don’t be Naughty] (1967) 102, 104–5, 107–8, 114, 125, 128, 134, 137–9, 142, 146, 192, 248 patriarchal models 18, 20, 25, 119, 195, 239 patriarchal structures 4, 92, 141, 159, 175 patriarchy 11, 19, 28, 33, 50, 60, 84, 92, 103, 104, 113–14, 119–20, 123–5, 129, 132, 138, 146, 159, 168, 175–6, 186, 202, 213, 216–17, 219, 220, 222, 226–7, 229, 234, 236, 242, 250, 254, 259, 260–3 philotimo 12, 254 plateia 13 popular cinema 1, 3, 149, 156, 167, 175, 185, 224, 255, 259, 264 popular culture 1, 2, 4, 54, 80, 151, 183, 187, 200, 205, 217, 238, 239, 243, 253, 257, 263–4 popular taste 8, 157, 196, 256 power 21, 26, 32, 37, 41, 47, 54, 74, 104, 108, 133–4, 136–8, 141, 159, 163, 173, 175–6, 180, 183, 185, 202, 205, 211–12, 215–16, 219, 220, 232, 240, 259 primitiveness 105, 124, 153 private sphere 11, 19, 21, 102, 127, 134–5, 158, 175–6, 212, 262 Prosopo me Prosopo [Face to Face] (1966) 149, 150–2, 163, 165–6, 172, 173–5, 176, 179, 180, 182, 186–7, 192, 245, 248 proxeneio 59 refugees 25, 238 rembetiko 84, 249, 251 rock n’ roll 84, 98, 220, 243 Roussos, Yiorgos 110 rural population 26, 29, 58, 117, 147 rural societies 11, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 47, 86, 105, 106, 111, 118, 123, 131, 135, 136, 240, 251, 255

316 Index second-release cinemas 8 sexual emancipation 49, 183, 199, 202, 216, 220, 245, 264 sexual revolution 2, 180 sexuality 4, 15, 20, 30, 47, 51, 84, 90, 91, 92, 101, 105, 124, 128, 130, 131, 135, 144, 146, 165, 170, 173, 179, 199, 217, 218, 225, 226, 238, 245, 254, 258, 260, 264 shake 84, 127, 147 shame 11, 14, 15, 16, 19, 47, 49, 51, 59, 62, 92, 105, 107, 114, 116, 118, 120, 131, 135, 162, 168, 170–2, 175, 180, 184, 201, 207–8, 215, 219, 222, 226, 238, 245, 247, 258, 262 see also dropi Sinoikia to Oneiro [Neighbourhood the Dream] (1961) 74, 97, 149, 150, 152, 154–5, 158–9, 165, 168, 170, 175–7, 184, 190–1, 250 social anthropology 2, 11, 21, 54 Sokou, Rozita 200 star-system foreign 87 Greek 8, 76, 87, 257, 263, 264 Stella (1955) 84, 195–9, 204–14, 217, 219, 222–4, 227–8, 231–44, 246, 247–9, 250 stereotypes 2, 19, 39, 50, 53–4, 75, 88, 92, 120, 122, 125, 127, 133, 139, 140, 146, 153, 172, 177, 232 subordination 13, 53, 89, 103, 117, 120, 156, 158, 171, 178, 180, 188, 206, 219, 228–9, 230, 235, 246 summer cinemas 69, 96 taboo 40, 130, 173, 191 tainies koinonikis katangelias 92, 99, 100, 217, 240, 243, 245 Tallas, Greg 105–6, 112, 114, 140, 145, 261 teddy-boys 49, 50, 62, 74, 92, 107, 202, 242–3, 248, 263 teddy-girls 49, 50, 92, 243, 263

Thessaloniki 27, 28, 38, 43, 51, 75, 151 To Koritsi me ta Mavra [A Girl in Black] (1956) 101–3, 105, 106, 109, 111–12, 115, 117–20, 130, 131, 132, 134, 138–9, 141, 143, 145, 147, 162, 192, 240, 243, 250–1 tourism 25, 53, 74, 155, 166, 173, 184, 238 tradition 1, 3, 28, 29, 39, 47, 50, 51, 53–4, 80, 84, 86, 98–9, 101, 103, 114, 120, 123, 125–8, 132, 140, 145–6, 149, 150, 161–2, 165, 167–8, 171–3, 183–4, 195–6, 200–2, 204, 205, 207–8, 214, 217–19, 221–5, 227, 231, 232, 237–8, 240, 242, 248, 253, 255, 258, 261, 264 Tsaldaris, Lina 38 twist 84 Tzavellas, George 164, 188, 189 unemployment 5, 37, 50, 75, 85, 156, 170 urban context 127, 205–6 urban population 28 USA 31, 49, 56, 66, 67, 84, 110, 201, 221 virginity 11, 14, 16, 19, 47, 49, 51, 92, 118, 121, 131, 158, 162, 170, 179, 184, 211, 214, 262 Vouyiouklaki, Aliki 89, 121, 122, 133, 144, 188, 193 white-collar 42, 44, 49, 59, 61, 151, 162 winter cinemas 69 women in the homeland 32 WWII 18, 39, 66, 72, 151, 174, 221, 227, 253–4, 256 yinaikas 16 youth cultures 2, 3, 4, 92, 141, 191, 195, 201, 226, 254 zeimbekiko 18, 179, 192, 237