The Illiac Passion
dir. Gregory Markopoulos, US, 67, 16mm, 92 min.
Introduced by Robert Beavers and Mark Webber
Co-presented with Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania
Throughout his life, Markopoulos remained closely connected to his heritage and ultimately saw the Greek landscape as the ideal setting for viewing his films. The Illiac Passion, one of his most highly acclaimed films, is a visionary interpretation of ‘Prometheus Bound’ starring mythical beings from the 1960s underground. The soundtrack of this contemporary re-imagining of the classical realm features a reading of Thoreau’s translation of the Aeschylus text and excerpts from Bartok.
“The Illiac Passion, which features chiaroscuro passages reminiscent of Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome of 1954, and incorporates 25 characters, is loosely based on Aeschylus' ‘Prometheus Bound’. For a viewer seeing this extravagant ode to creation some thirty years after its making, the film's most plangent moments involve Markopoulos' affectionate casting of friends as mythical figures - Andy Warhol's Poseidon pumping on an Exercycle above a sea of plastic, Taylor Mead's Demon leaping, grimacing, and streaming vermilion fringes, and Jack Smith's bohemian Orpheus, spending a quiet afternoon at home with Eurydice.” ~ Kristin M. Jones, Artforum
Screened in conjunction with the publication of:
FILM AS FILM: THE
COLLECTED WRITINGS OF GREGORY J. MARKOPOULOS
Edited by Mark Webber, with a foreword by P. Adams Sitney
The Visible Press, Spring 2014
“Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos” contains some ninety out-of-print or previously unavailable articles by the Greek-American filmmaker who, as a contemporary of Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage and Andy Warhol, was at the forefront of a movement that established a truly independent form of cinema. Beginning with his early writings on the American avant-garde and auteurs such as Dreyer, Bresson and Mizoguchi, it also features numerous essays on Markopoulos’ own practice, and on films by Robert Beavers, that were circulated only in journals, self-published editions or programme notes. The texts become increasingly metaphysical and poetic as the filmmaker pursued his ideal of Temenos, an archive and screening space to be located at a remote site in the Peloponnese where his epic final work could be viewed in harmony with the Greek landscape. Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928-1992) is a unique figure in film history, whose life’s work stands in testament to his strength of vision and commitment to the medium.
Mark Webber is an independent curator of artists' film and video based in London who has been responsible for screenings and events at many international venues. He is the editor of "Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos" and publisher of The Visible Press.
Robert Beavers is an American filmmaker, born and raised in Massachusetts. He moved to New York in 1965 to pursue filmmaking, and lived there until 1967 when he and his partner, Gregory Markopoulos, left the United States for Europe, where they continued to live and make films until Markopoulos’ death in 1992. Both filmmakers restricted the screenings of their films after leaving America, and instead held yearly screenings of their work from 1980–1986 in Greece. After Markopoulos’ death, Beavers founded Temenos, Inc., a non-profit devoted to the preservation of Markopoulos’ and Beavers’ work.