ISSN: 2241-6692

“Cinderella of Modern Greece”: Aliki Voyouklaki as National Romance

Nick Potamitis

ABSTRACT

As a metaphor for social unity, the love couple functions as an ideological symbol par excellence. Greece during the 1950s, characterised as it was by the attempt at establishing right-wing hegemony, saw a massive discursive mobilisation of this privileged signifier in support of ideological reconstruction. Aliki Vouyouklaki starred in over a dozen hugely popular and commercially successful films alongside Dimitris Papamichael, and theirs was a popular dyad that conflated both diegetic and extra-textual romance, embodying a passionate and often rowdy on-screen relationship re-enacted in the well-publicised celebrity marriage that followed. In the context of post-war reconstruction it is not love that conquers all but capitalism – the Law. Three romantic comedies starring Aliki Vouyouklaki and Dimitris Papamichael (Spare the Rod…, Mandalena, and Aliki in the Navy) will serve to illustrate the process by which the authority of the law is inflected anew through the matrix of romance.

Keywords: Vouyouklaki; stardom; ideology; civil war; popular cinema; romance