Panos Koutras, Filmmaker

Saturday, November 20, 2010 - 5:30am

Gender, Kinship, and Love

A film screening and public conversation with Greek filmmaker Panos Koutras,
in dialogue with Kaja Silverman and Liana

A screening and public conversation about Strella: A Woman's Way (2009) with Greek filmmaker Panos Koutras.

Strella explores the relationship between George, a recently released ex-convict, and Strella a transexual cabaret singer. A lyrical and spellbinding revision of ancient Greek tragedy and set mostly in the glowing after-hours of Athens, the film meditates on the rigid cultural norms imposed on gender, kinship and love in modern Greek society. Strella is also a formidable example of rigorously independent cinema, featuring many first time actors and produced through the efforts of the filmmaker's friends and family.

Panos Koutras (born in Athens) studied in London at the London International Film School and then in Paris at the Sorbonne. From 1985 until 1995 he made several shorts films, including The Fall and Rise of Lydia Von Burer, which in 1991 won the first prize at the Festival Du Cinema Méditerranéen. In 1995, he founded 100% Synthetic Films in Athens, and started working on his first feature film, The Attack of the Giant Mousaka (2000). His second feature film, Real Life (2004), became a critics' favorite in Greece, where it won the National Critics Award in 2004, and traveled to the International Toronto Film Festival. Since making its premier at the 59th Cinema Festival in Berlin in February 2009, Strella has participated in more than twenty International Festivals, and won Best Movie Awards in Tel Aviv and Oslo and a Best Actress Award in Lisbon. Koutras is now hailed by the French press as “the new Almodovar” of Europe.

Kaja Silverman is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Chair of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of eight books: James Coleman; World Spectators; Speaking About Godard; The Threshold of the Visual World; Male Subjectivity at the Margins; The Acoustic Mirror; The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema; The Subject of Semiotics; and Flesh of My Flesh. Silverman’s writing and teaching are focused primarily on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, photography, time-based visual art, and literature, but she writes about and teaches courses on cinema, and she has both a developing interest in painting, and an ongoing commitment to feminist theory.  She is completing a book about photography, called The Miracle of Analogy.

Liana Theodoratou is Clinical Professor and Director of the A. S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies at New York University.  She is the author of several essays on modern Greek poetry, including essays on the poetry of Yannis Ritsos, Manolis Anagnostakis, and Takis Sinopoulos.  She also has translated several works of theory and philosophy into modern Greek, including works by Freud, Benjamin, Althusser, Foucault, Lacan, and Derrida. She presently is completing a book entitled Mourning Becomes Greece: The Politics of Silence in Postwar Greek Poetry.

This program is made possible in part through the generous support of the A. S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies at NYU, Wilson College at Princeton University, and the Society of Friends of the Slought Foundation. Organized by Eduardo Cadava, Princeton University and presented in partnership with the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cinema Studies Program
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