This quantity examines cinematic representations of old Greek ladies from the nation-states of fable and historical past. It discusses how those girl figures have been resurrected at the vast reveal via assorted filmmakers in the course of various historic moments, and have been for this reason embedded inside of a story which served a number of reasons.
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Extra resources for Ancient Greek Women in Film (Classical Presences)
Despite being based on the same ancient Greek ﬁgure, these two ﬁlms portray Helen’s physical appearance and conduct very differently. Both use skin and hair colour, hairstyle, and costume to convey their messages about Helen’s status and her thematic and social signiﬁcations. Furthermore, both ﬁlms accentuate these concepts of gazing upon Helen by dramatizing key aspects of ancient Greek Helen: foremost, in most ancient sources, as the icon of beauty and eroticism; as a goddess associated with the cycle of vegetation and adolescent girls’ transitions; as a 5 Mulvey (1975: 11).
6 Since the ﬁlm was produced in 1955 and ofﬁcially released in 1956, both dates occur in references. 7 Scholarly interest in cinematic Helens has skyrocketed in the last decade, especially on Helen in Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy: Cyrino (2007b), Roisman (2008), Blondell (this volume, ﬁrst published in 2009). Gazing at Helen 21 member of Sparta’s royal lineage; and morally as a woman capable of transgressing gender and social boundaries with relative impunity. The diverse ways in which Wise and Cacoyannis incorporate these ancient characteristics into their cinematic Helens, and particularly the two actresses who are respectively cast to perform Helen, deliver distinctive messages about women and sexuality.
With a similar transposition, it might also evoke the stories of Menelaus’ dropping his sword upon seeing Helen’s naked breasts, as his reaction to her naked back strongly suggests. Coincident with her regally arrogant bearing, the camera maintains an almost constant focus on Helen’s face, eyes, and body, especially her naked back, to display to the spectators’ gaze. The ﬁlm thus privileges as the primary viewing lens for all audience members the male-framed gaze at the woman projected as the ultimate object of men’s desirous gaze.
Ancient Greek Women in Film (Classical Presences)