ISSN: 2241-6692

BLOG - Memory

Growing up as a child of first-generation Greek-Australian migrants had countless privileges. But being different from the dominate white demographic was something I did not look too favourably upon, at that time anyway. Whiteness was all over Australian television screens as programmes were mostly British or American imports, with some Australian soaps, drama series or entertainment shows, so it was difficult to feel anything other than different. But when sitcom Acropolis Now (1989–1992) came on Australian TV, I found I could relate to and identify with the on-screen characters, for the very first time. They were mostly working-class, second-generation Greek-Australians – the children of Greek migrants to Australia, and I saw a reflection of my own culture, history, family and difference, which was enormously important for my teenage sense of identity and cultural belonging.

This self-reflexive approach of writing about Acropolis Now, is as important a subject now as it was then. Back then, the show was like a companion, a good friend who would come to visit once a week in small, white, country town Australia. What is more, it came with an imagined community of thousands of other second-generation Greek-Australians who, like me, were trying to make sense of the world and where to fit in it, particularly given we were “white,” but also considered ethnically different. Revisiting the show years later was like reuniting with an old friend, only to discover we had both moved on. What follows is a brief account of this friendship. ... More

Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou’s book European Civil War Films: Memory, Conflict and Nostalgia is a monograph on the study of the neglected subject of European civil war films that attempts to displace frameworks for the understanding of historical trauma and its role in cultural memory from a preoccupation with World War II and the Holocaust to the subject matter of Civil War.

The book examines the problematic of cinematic postmemory through a series of comparative case studies of late twentieth-century European films about the civil wars in Spain, Ireland, Former Yugoslavia, and Greece. Through a close study of Fernando Trueba’s Belle Époque (1992), José Luis Cuerda’s Butterfly’s Tongue (1999), Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom (1995) and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), Emir Kusturica’s Underground (1995), Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land (2001), and Theo Angelopoulos’s The Travelling Players (1975), Kosmidou explores how these films break with historical taboos of representation, what type of historical allegorizations they advance and what kind of cultural memory they create. According to the writer, the films make use of various stylistic and representational elements and succeed in making decisive contributions to cultural memory. Film narratives often take a romanticised and melodramatic approach to the Spanish Civil War, the Irish Civil War is pictured through personal and family relations, satire and comedy are prominent modes of representation in the films about the Former Yugoslavian Civil War, while Theo Angelopoulos’s Brechtian treatment of the Greek Civil War invites critical distance from the audience. ... More