Greek Cinema Goes Abroad: The Progression of a Weird New Wave
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The Greek financial crisis of 2008 drastically affected the budget of the cultural sector in Greece. This meant that filmmakers needed to find alternative ways to fund their projects. The difficult financial situation sowed the seeds of a new wave of Greek cinema often referred to as the Greek Weird Wave. An important filmmaker, who is often considered one of the founders of this wave is Yorgos Lanthimos. He produced two Greek films before moving his productions to the United Kingdom where he made two more films. Lanthimos’ departure to the United Kingdom is argued to be the end of the Greek Weird Wave. I argue that this is a simplification and argues that Lanthimos still made Greek Weird Wave films after moving his productions abroad. To prove this, I have conducted an analysis of Lanthimos’ work using Rick Altman’s semantic and syntactic approach to genre analysis, which has been reconstructed to fit an analysis of a cinematic wave. A semantic approach was used to analyze thematic and aesthetic similarities Lanthimos’ films carry. My results show that absurdism and the family- element, as well as sexuality and what I propose to call a “God-complex”, are important themes in Lanthimos’ films. My analysis also shows that the settings of the films play an insignificant role. Additionally, a syntactic analysis was conducted based on the theory on art cinema conventions, provided by Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover, and Pierre Bourdieu’s model of the literary field. My results show a shift in Lanthimos’ work from more experimental films to more mainstream films. In Lanthimos’ later productions, he accepts the influence of mainstream Hollywood standards. I would argue that the “Greek” in Greek Weird Wave refers more to a cinematic style than a geographical location and that Lanthimos has carried this style onto his international co-productions. Therefore, I would argue that the Greek Weird Wave did not come to a stop when Lanthimos moved his productions abroad.