Voices of resistance: Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women (1971)

Bakogianni, Anastasia (2009). Voices of resistance: Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women (1971). The Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 52(1) pp. 45–68.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-5370.2009.tb00746.x


Cinematic receptions of Greek tragedy are a battleground for the struggle between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture. This paper will examine this phenomenon with reference to a case study: Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women (1971). This is a hybrid film that draws on both Hollywood and art cinema techniques to protest the violence endemic in politics in the decades of the 1960s and 70s. Cacoyannis focused on the political dimension of Euripides’ Troades and his reception joins the other voices of resistance that protested contemporary dominant ideology. This powerful and poignant film, however, drowns out the polyphony found in tragedy and sacrifices the ambiguity of the source text. A close textual analysis of the film and its contextualization teases out some of the ways in which this trend can be resisted.

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