(Editor’s note: The following text is excerpted from the introduction of Masculinity and Gender in Greek Cinema by Achilleas Hadjikyriacou. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury Publishing, © 2013).
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.