ISSN: 2241-6692

The Performative Aesthetics of the ‘Greek New Wave’

Afroditi Nikolaidou


This paper argues that there is an excessive performative element at work that is constitutive of the formation of the contemporary Greek ‘festival films’ as a wave (the so-called ‘Greek New Wave’), even if each one seems extremely unique and different. Both performance and performativity become conceptual tools to scrutinize something more than the text, and at the same time they are the films’ aesthetic penchant inscribed within the cinematic text as a thematic and formal structure. My attempt is to name and explain this, so far unnamed, unfamiliar aesthetics, which is located in and outside the text and functions as a trademark for these films. This performative specificity that bears similarities with contemporary post-dramatic theatre can be detected in the following interconnecting elements: a) the mechanisms of the films’ participation in festivals and their promotional strategies, b) the recurrent thematic motifs and acting style used for characterization and plot construction, and c) different stylistic and narrational strategies with common functions. My account focuses on two films, namely To Agori Troi to Fagito tou Pouliou / Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (Lygizos, 2012) and I Eonia Epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeva / The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (Psykou, 2013).

Keywords: Boy Eating the Bird’s Food, Contemporary Greek Cinema, festival film, Greek New Wave, performative aesthetics, The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas