Greek Tragedy on Screen considers a wide range of films which engage openly with narrative and performative aspects of Greek tragedy. This volume situates these films within the context of on-going debates in film criticism and reception theory in relation to theoretical or critical readings of tragedy in contemporary culture. Michelakis argues that film adaptations of Greek tragedy need to be placed between the promises of cinema for a radical popular culture, and the divergent cultural practices and realities of commercial films, art-house films, silent cinema, and films for television, home video, and DVD. In an age where the boundaries between art and other forms of cultural production are constantly intersected and reconfigured, the appeal of Greek tragedy for the screen needs to be related to the longing it triggers for origins and authenticity, as well as to the many uncertainties, such as homelessness, violence, and loss of identity, with which it engages.
The films discussed include not only critically recognized films by directors such Michael Cacoyannis, Jules Dassin, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, but also more recent films by Woody Allen, Tony Harrison, Werner Herzog, and Lars von Trier. Moreover, it also considers earlier and largely neglected films of cinematic traditions which lie outside Hollywood.