ISSN: 2241-6692

Negotiating Heteronormativity in the Family Melodrama: A Case Study of Giorgos Katakouzinos’s Angelos/Angel (1982)

Spyridon Chairetis


This article argues that postmodern approaches to genre have deeply influenced the conceptualization of film genres. While the genre of melodrama along with its discursive signification has undergone substantial transformations over the course of decades, many film and genre scholars postulate that melodrama is governed by heteropatriarchal rules and conventions. My intention in this article is to argue that melodrama can be potentially ambiguous and ideologically subversive. For that purpose, Giorgos Katakouzinos’s Angel will serve as a case study. Katakouzinos’s film, ever since its production in 1982 has received mixed feedback from critics, journalists and everyday people across Greece and beyond, who mainly approached the film as a narrative that reifies heteronormativity. Yet, the critical reception of the film does not only concern its themes and portrayals of homosexuality, but also its categorization in genre(s). Drawing on cultural studies and recent scholarship on queer(ing) melodrama, this article presents Angel as a family melodrama – in a broader sense of the term ‘family’ – and argues that the film replays and rejects heteronormative values, thus creating a cinematic space where its characters – both leading and supporting – assume different roles and reflect a breadth and diversity of desires, sexualities and domestic/public arrangements vis-à-vis heteronormativity. Finally, such an analysis suggests the need to re-assess old cultural texts and genres, with the ultimate aim to identify queer moments, which may have remained either unnoticed or disavowed.

Keywords: Angel, Greek cinema, heteronormativity, homosexuality, melodrama, queerness