Stella

Cacoyannis Michalis

Greece, 1955

ACTIVITIES

GENERAL DISCUSSION

– What is the film about?
– Who are the main characters? How are the characters depicted?
– Which are the film’s main themes. How are they outlined?

FILM EXTRACTS

57:0158:41

The announcement

1:26 -1:28 Fate

Fate

ACTIVITY 1

OBSERVE

Linking Film with:
Literature Grade Α – Senior High School Essay Writing – High School: Textual Critical Analysis & Summary Themes: Gender Equality & Relations / Progress vs Tradition

Bridging Film with Literature or Essay Writing (Gender Relations):
 (Film Extract A’)
SCRIPT
• What is Stella’s profession? Which elements in the film make us understand how she makes her living?
• What is the relationship between Stella and Maria?
• How does Stella react to the marriage proposal?
• Which line reflects the film’s underlying gender struggle?
• Are there any elements in the film betraying Stella’s character strengths or weaknesses?
MUSIC
• What does music contribute to the particular shot?
CHARACTERS
• Stella’s character is important for narrative purposes but, also, for social and political critique. Attribute five  characterizations to the main female character. Which details or camera movements justify your characterizations?
EDITING
• Observe the way in which shots alternate.
• How does rhythm and sequence structure help us make sense of images and of the narrative as a whole? Doesn’t editing remind you of the adapted literary text’s dialogue rhythm?

(Film Extract B’)
CHARACTERS
• How does Miltos feel when he meets Stella?
• Do you think that there is an instance of joy, or, fear between the characters?
CAMERA
• How is camera positioned? Why this particular angle?
• What does it reveal for their relationship?
• What do you think of Miltos? How does he feel? What about his inner struggles, or, dilemmas? How does camera work reflect symbolism?
• Where is the focus? Whose character’s storyangle is that?
3. Social & Historical Context
HISTORICAL
Stella was filmed in 1955, seven years after the Greek Civil War, during which women actively participated in Resistance. Do you consider Stella’s character as representative of the struggle for female equality and emancipation?
SOUND & MUSIC
Do you believe that the film’s formative elements reflect the 1950’s and the position of women during this period? How do music, image and light influence perception?
CAMERA
In what way do images take us back in time? For instance, urban development, modernism versus tradition as revealed by the film’s locations etc.

ACTIVITY 2

BECOME A CRITIC

Linking Film with:
Essay Writing Grade B- Senior High School: Critical Thinking
For the activities, here-below, watching the entire film is suggested:
BECOME A CRITIC
Step 1: Form two separate groups. Each group receives a set of film reviews. Read carefully and prepare to argue in defense of the criticism received in some kind of debate.
Reviews Group A // Reviews Group B
Step 2: Will you or won’t you propose the film to others? Please indicate in the below given tables.
Step 3: Write your own review.

WRITTEN BY
Nikos Kolovos
M. Cacoyannis, The Social Ethics period

“Stella from the Port is the archetypal female. The film’s austere myth and all those arguments about her morality and lack of discipline are well known. As decades went by, this myth, which was based on the fierce and transcendental nature of Melina Merkouri, has turned into a film legend. The singer’s passionate love affair with the fun-loving footballer leads neither to redemption nor compromise, but, instead, directly to destruction. This female doesn’t belong in the 50s. She expresses femininity, as developed in late 20th century. Her moral benefit, being the authentic female she is and one way before her own age.”

Alian Brien
Evening Standard, August 16th, 1956

“He molds Stella, like a tiger in the alley, a real human animal, a mixture of Ava Gardner και and Anna Magnani. Despite of the film’s blurred cinematography and poor quality of sound, Cacoyannis brings to life every square meter of the movie
screen.”

Peter John Dyer
Films & Filming, Vol. October 1956

“Dostoyevsky would approve of Stella and Swinburne would adore her!”

Eric Rohmer
Les Arts, February 4th, 1956

“The film’s ending reminds that of Othello. In Stella, though, the wounded heroine, depicted through a crescendo of close-ups, still finds the power to tightly embrace her murdered, while housewives, wearing nightgowns, appear in dawn
and surround the couple like the chorus in ancient tragedy.”

Film reviews resource: Michael Cacoyannis
36th TIFF, Michael Cacoyannis, Kastaniotis Editions, Athens 1995
Thessaloniki, Cultural Capital of Europe Organization 1997

Marios Ploritis
Liberty

“Stella doesn’t miss out on the deliberate, the premeditated, which is so characteristic of Greek films. What makes a film valid, is the director’s ability to disappear, to hide behind affairs and deeds in such a way that the spectator becomes unconscious of him and convinced of the characters not as fictional constructs but as real human beings. In Stella, as in other Greek films, this disappearance is never realized…”

Anthony Moschovakis
Art Review

“[..] Vulgarity and obscenity are presented as heroism; roughness and intimidation as bravery. [..] Mr.Cacoyannis, still a foreigner in our country, owes to focus on Greek reality, which one may be inclusive of bouzouki music, to a certain extent, but, not totally characterized by it.”

Kostis Stamatiou
Dawn

“[..] Actually, what we witness is a vulgar melodrama promoting low-life, whatever most lumpen and obscene exists in Greek reality.”

Film reviews resource: Yannis Soldatos
“A Century of Greek Cinema”, 1st Volume 1900 – 1970, Kochlias Editions,
Athens 2001, pages 152-153

LIKE & DISLIKE

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MY REVIEW

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FILM ASSESSMENT

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ACTIVITY 3

CREATE

Based on the film extract watched, create your own scene. Think about gender relations, about the past and the present.
1. Create your own Story board (please refer to Glossaries Section– Script). Imagine film setting, costume, make-up, music. Think of character dilemma.
2. Start filming, 3-2-1, Go!

Setting: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Shot type: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Action: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Script: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Duration: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Sound: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

TEACHER GUIDE

GENERAL GUIDE

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