Antigone is a 1961 movie directed by Yorgos Javellas and produced by Demetrious Paris. In the movie, Irene Papas plays Antigone, Maro Kodou plays Ismene, and Creon is acted by Manos Katrakis. The movie was released in 1961 and it is based on the famous Greek tragedy. Several months ago, I decided to watch a black-and-white film version, an adaptation of Sophocles’s most famous play called Antigone. The movie was released in Greece and it involves Greek actors, which suits mythological themes recovered in the picture.
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The film refers to the times of ancient Greece. King Oedipus invades Thebes and unintentionally kills his farther and marries his mother Jocasta. The King later has four children –two daughters, Ismene and Antigone, and two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles (Antigone).
After Oedipus’s death, Eteocle promises his father to reign with his brother by alternating their power annually. However, when Polyneices ascends the throne, he refuses to give power to his brother and gathers the army to confront Eteocle. However, when both brothers die in a battle, the king Creon decrees that only Eleocles deserves the honorable ritual of burial whereas Polyneices must be left unburied.
When Antigone learns about this, she decides to bury his brother herself. As soon as Creon is informed about Antigone’s decision, the king thinks that burying her alive in a tomb is the only punishment for her horrible deed. However, the heroine hangs herself after she is pushed in a tomb. Haemon, Creon’s son, tries to attack the king, but later he kills himself as soon as he finds Antigone’s body.
The story is based on the famous Greek tragedy Antigone written by Sophocles in 441 BC. The play, in its turn, is an extended version of Theban legend. Despite the fact that the film is based on fictional characters, it is premised on historical context as well. In particular, Antigone dates to the epoch of national rebellion in 441, when imperialist movement was on the rise.
The story also relates to numerous military expeditions of Greek leaders to expand imperial control and power. In the play, Sophocles criticizes anarchy and makes direct references to Athens. In general, the play does not touch on patriotic themes. On the contrary, it refers to analysis of moral themes typical of those times.
The movie was set in Greece and it features Greek landscapes and ancient interiors so that the atmosphere was skillfully rendered by the director. In the movie, several locations have been used, the mountainous setting, the buildings reminding of ancient Greek palaces, and the caves where the main characters were buried.
In such a way, the director has managed to describe the epoch, as well as demonstrate what challenges that main heroes faced. While watching the actor’s clothing and the building interior, it was possible to feel the air of time. Black-and-white version contributed to the entire idea of the picture.
In my opinion, the movie successfully reflects the epoch of imperialism when the Kings expanded new territories and were obsessed with gaining control over new lands. The story also accurately conveys the behavior and habits of ancient time because honor and respect were among the most important qualities that a person should possess. Therefore, the movie is not a patriotic account about achievements and courage of Greek military leaders; it is a story about love, compassion, betrayal, and independence as presented by Sophocles.
Antigone. Ex. Prod. Demetrios Paris. Greece: Dinos Katsouridis, 1961. DVD.