ISSN: 2241-6692

Soft Fantasies, Hardcore Realities: Greekness and the Death Drive in Dennis Iliades’s Hardcore

Marios Psarras


This article offers a reading of Dennis Iliades’s Hardcore (2004) as an aesthetic embodiment of the perennial dialectic between desire and the drive, drawing on post-Lacanian psychoanalysis as well as on contemporary queer theory, particularly Lee Edelman’s conceptualization of queerness as a non-teleological negativity associated with the death drive and his notion of sinthomosexuality. The article suggests that the fundamental psychoanalytic pendulum is staged in Hardcore both thematically, through its nuanced treatment of such notions as identity, family, home and the nation, as well as formally, through an ambivalent construction of cinematic space and time. The latter involves a complicated representation of queer spatiality that, on the one hand, imagines it as constructive, productive and thus political, while, on the other, exposes it as destructive, wasteful and caught up in a relentless negativity associated with the death drive. Blurring fantasy with reality, desire with the drive, the film ultimately renegotiates any linear conceptions of temporality, any normative modes of subjectivity and relationality, while at the same time dismantles the nation’s favourite narratives as well as Greekness itself.

Keywords: death drive, family, Greekness, Hardcore, Iliades, sinthomosexuality