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Title: Modern tragedy : Michael Cacoyannis' early films
Author: Papageorgopoulou, Maria Aikaterini
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 2477
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is an interpretation of three films by the Greek Cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis: Stella, 1955), To koritsi me ta mavra/A Girl in Black, 1956 and To teleftaio psema/A Matter of Dignity, 1958. These films appear early in Cacoyannis' career and very little has been written on them. My thesis seeks to show that they are accomplished and complex films, which merit close attention, both in virtue of their dramatic form and because of the ethical questions they raise regarding individual autonomy and the force of archaic ethical norms. The aim of this thesis is to interpret these films by examining the evolving motivations of their protagonists. The thesis seeks to show that the dramatic form of the films renders the agency of the protagonist partly intransparent. In order to show this, my thesis examines, on the one hand, how characterisation, perspective, character relationships and the development of the drama provide an internal context for agency in each film. On the other hand, the interpretation seeks to tease out the ethical implications and stakes of the dramatic action in each film. These implications, I argue, are structured by a thematic ambivalence running through these films between modernity, understood as subjective freedom, and archaic ethical norms, implying a limit to subjective freedom. In the approach to the films' dramatic form and their ethical implications, I am indebted to Hegel's aesthetic and ethical theory. I use the Hegelian term 'modern tragedy' to characterise both the dramatic form of these films and the ethical situation of their protagonists. I also situate these films within international auteur cinema of the 1950s and early 1960s. The thesis aims, thus, to contribute to scholarship on European auteur cinema of the mid-20th century. It also aims to be a contribution to the study of agency and ethics in film in general.
Supervisor: Due, Reidar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Motion picture producers and directors--Greece ; Motion pictures ; Greek ; Motion pictures--Philosophy ; Tragedy