ASTERO THE “POLITICAL”
The following extract can be used in support of Activity 1 (question group 4). It can be used in relation to the topic of “Mass Media” (Essay Writing, Grade A – Senior High School).
According to Ethnos newspaper, the success of Astero motivated “a crowd of intellectuals” who aspired to imitate Pavlos Nirvanas. The newspaper also quoted Eleftherios Venizelos commenting: “…since Greek academics and artists collaborate on Greek cinema, there is no doubt about the promotion of Greek landscape and about the accuracy of the Greek ethos and tradition represented.”
Τhe newspaper –which fervently opposed Venizelos’ politics– reacted fiercely by commenting on the absence of state funds to film production
companies and on the state’s inability to apply protective tax policies for local film industry. Nevertheless, the official premiere of Astero was the first event in Greece to be recorded on newsreels. Michalis Gaziadis shot Eleftherios Venizelos as he entered the movie theater. Immediately after
that, he took the negative print, went to his lab, developed and dried it by “lighting up a liter of alcohol.” Within 90 minutes, and as soon as the
screening was over, Venizelos, who had seen himself in the meantime on the big screen, got enthusiastic and promised he would apply a different tax policy in order to achieve a 10% revenue – and that’s what he did!
Source: Aglaia Mitropoulou, Greek Cinema (Ellinikos Kinimatografos), Athens: Papazissis editions, 2nd edition, 2006.
The following can be used in combination with the first two minutes of Astero’s extract and in support of film language questions found in
Activity 1 (question group 3).
“For the first time, the camera seemed to change angle and follow the action, inviting the viewer to engage in a dialogue with what was happening on the screen… The camera seemed to change angle and follow the action, inviting the viewer to engage in a dialogue with what was happening on the screen… Gaziadis seems to have understood that the camera is not simply the eye of the director, but the eye of the viewer. …There is an excellent scene where the camera rests on the head of a dog as it is barking over the dead body of its master: the camera rotates around the mountainous landscape, giving the audience the immediate sensation of an endless immensity of space and the human helplessness within it. The landscape acts as a speaker amplifying the dog’s barking, as though nature is echoing the pain of human tragedy.”
Karalis Vrasidas Α History of Greek Cinema2012 New York Continuum
THE OTHER SIDE
The following extract can be used in support of
Astero got raving reviews at the time of its release. In 2012, Prof. Vrasidas Karalis, who approached the film from a sociological point of view, wrote:
“Gaziadis avoided confronting or criticizing patriarchal morality or the given female representation conventions. Social roles, as depicted in the
film’s pastoral setting and Greek village iconography, idealized an ever lost way of living. Gaziadis, however, through his nostalgic recreation of lost innocence and through an authenticity sought after by urban masses, implicitly criticized roles and institutions, which after the Asia Minor Catastrophe had lost legitimacy and moral value. Astero may be perceived as a narrative of consolation if placed against the background of cities filled with poverty stricken refugees. At the same time, Gaziadis addressed national gender relations, representing women as the core of moral integrity, endurance, and stability. Referring to the relationship between local film production and the need for stronger national morale, the writer presents an extract where Pavlos Nirvanas notes that as screenwriter he obeyed conventions, wrote platitudes and tried to satisfy audience expectations by producing a film “full of Greek-ness”: “My constant concern, from beginning till end, was to mould film characters identified as Greek, feeling and behaving Greek, speaking Greek and even fall in love Greek way.”