ISSN: 2241-6692

Junctions, Dead-ends and Uncertain Trajectories: Mapping Out the Greek Road Movie

Vasiliki Petsa


This article sets out to discuss a corpus of contemporary Greek films foregrounding mobility and travel as variations of a national version of the road movie genre. Following a textual approach in the definition of genres, I first critically engage with the aesthetic conventions and cultural significance of the road and travel film within the American and European cinematic traditions. Thus framing my discussion, I then chart an itinerary of the Greek road movie across a broad stylistic gamut and thematic repertoire, firmly situating it amid specific socio-cultural contexts. I show how, in consecutive periods, traversing the New Greek Cinema and the Contemporary Greek Cinema, as well as significant socio-political transitions, the Greek travel and road film in its various embodiments has been brought on to reflect on a series of crises marking the Greek cultural sphere. I argue that, by positing the journey as common narrative device, Greek film-makers have articulated filmic interrogations regarding the vicissitudes of contemporary Greek society as well as national identity, in its intersection with history, but also sexuality, ethnicity and gender.

Keywords: history, identity, mobility, subjectivity, road movie