ISSN: 2241-6692

Going Backwards, Moving Forwards: The Return of Modernism in the Work of Athina Rachel Tsangari

Anna Poupou


This paper focuses on the aesthetic trajectory of the filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari from 1995 until today, so as to trace the main characteristics of her style. The starting point of this examination is her first feature film The Slow Business of Going (2001) that will be discussed as an example of post-classical narration perfectly in tune with issues that became central in the discourse of post-modernism. The examination will continue with Attenberg (2010), as a return to a modernist vocabulary with references to the art-house film of the 1960s and 1970s and will conclude with her recent project, The Capsule (2012), as an example of experimental avant-garde cinema. Furthermore, I trace the influences from international modernist directors, specifically Chantal Akerman and Jean Luc Godard, and at the same time establish a link with the Greek directors of the generation of the New Greek Cinema. One of the questions to be answered is how, despite the seemingly radical changes in her style, Tsangari’s work gives the impression of evolution and continuity through stylistic forms of antithesis and opposition, and how the filmmaker deals with authorship. This study aims at helping to define the Greek ‘weird’ wave in terms not only of topics, production, promotion, or its relation to the crisis, but in terms of aesthetic choices.

Keywords: art house cinema, auteur, Greek ‘weird’ wave, modernism, parametric narration, Tsangari