Greek Queer Cinema Evolution and movies to watch

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Greek Queer cinema had its impact on history, with several remarkable points throughout the years. First of all, it’s important to emphasize the differentiation between gay and queer cinema. The term ‘queer’ showed up to expand even more the term ‘gay’, in order to create a bigger and wider platform that could fit transexual, bisexual or even straight people, who were described as the ‘hellish’ element of society. Overall, to consider a movie queer, there has to be a specific structure, plot and the showcase of those elements that are considered ‘strange’ and ‘weird’ for each time period.

As for the decades 1960s and 1970s, particularly during the military junta (1967-1974), Greek cinema was heavily influenced by conservative societal norms and strict censorship laws. Any description of LGBTQIAP+ themes had to be subtle and often relied on subtext  or innuendo. As Greek society began to liberalize in the 1980s, there have been the first tentative steps towards more explicit representation of LGBTQIAP+ characters. However, these depictions were often still fraught with stereotypes and negative connotations. Sadly, for many years, the representative of a gay person was a feminine caricature of the male.

The 1990s was the period that finally marked a significant shift, with the emergence of the “New Greek Cinema” movement, which pushed the boundaries of traditional Greek filmmaking. By the 2000s, Greek society had become more open to discussions around LGBTQIAP+ issues, which was also reflected in its cinema, while in recent years there has been an even broader and diverse range of LGBTQIAP+ stories being screened. It’s worth mentioning the establishment of greek LGBTQIAP+ film festivals, such as the Outview Film Festival in Athens, that has provided important platforms for queer cinema in Greece, helping to nurture new talents and bring international queer films to Greek audiences.

Greek queer cinema continues to evolve, reflecting ongoing changes in society and contributing to the global discourse on LGBTQIAP+ rights and representation. The journey from subtextual hints to explicit stories marks a significant cultural transformation, underscoring the importance of cinema as a medium for social change. 

 Στρέλλα (A woman’s way)

Στρέλλα (A woman’s way) is a 2009 drama movie regarding a transgender woman called ‘’Strella’’, who falls in love with Yiorgos/Γιώργος, an ex convict of 15 years. After selling  his parent’s house , Yiorgos starts building a new life for himself in Athens. He  spends his first night in a cheap motel, where he meets Στρέλλα, a young transexual sex worker. The movie gained critical acclaim for it’s bold storytelling and complex characters, while challenging traditional narratives around gender and sexuality.

Ξενία (Xenia)

Ξενία(Xenia) is a 2014 drama movie regarding two brothers, searching for their Greek father across Greece, after their mother passes away. 18-year old Οδυσσέας cooperates with his 16-year old gay brother Danny, in order to face their father after all these years and bring questions about the past to the surface. The movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and received widespread acclaim.

Straight story

Straight story is a 2006 comedy movie. In this unique movie, tables turn and the viewers get to experience a world, where homosexuality is the norm. But for Yiannis/Γιάννης(the main character)things get complicated, when he finds out he is straight! The movie showcases all the complex and uncomfortable feelings of someone, who is considered an outsider by the society he lives in. Moreover, the movie does not miss to showcase the everyday struggles, that can occur in a minority group like this (e.g. marginalization, social rejection and incidents of violence). It’s for sure a movie that makes you feel uncomfortable seeing the harsh reality, from a different perspective.

Από την άκρη της πόλης (From the edge of the city)

Από την άκρη της πόλης(From the edge of the city)is a 1998 movie, which describes the harsh everyday life of  a friend group that lives in the edge of the city and in the margin of the Greek society. The movie succeeded in delving into the lives of young male prostitutes in Athens, portraying their experiences and struggles with a raw and honest lens.

Η επίθεση του γιγαντιαίου μουσακά(The attack of the giant Moussaka)

Η επίθεση του γιγαντιαίου μουσακά(The attack of the giant Moussaka)is a 1999 camp  cult comedy movie. As funny as it seems, the main character of the movie is a giant piece of moussaka, spreading fear and death in the city of Athens. As the plot continues, we get to know all the different characters, that show case the LGBTQIAP+ community, while existential questions always arise in the movie.

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