The selection of Elefsis as cultural capital of Europe in 2021 has made me think how our festivals could be linked with this important event: The Cinematheque of Greece is built on Iera Odos, the sacred street which led the faithful from Athens to participate in the initiations for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis. Cinema itself has the character of a sacred ritual, which has either been compared to a modern equivalent of Plato’s cave, to reception in a state of distraction (Benjamin), or a return to the mirror stage (Metz).
Thus Greek mythology serves as inspiration for poetic itineraries such as that of Orpheus who in the guise of an 18th century poet engages in dialogue with the great romantic tradition of western literature in the flux of the itinerary from life to death (Jean Cocteaux, Testament of Orpheus, 1960). Film as a dream and the dream as canvas for engaging with majestically composed tableaux vivantes, in which three characters living in parallel worlds, confront the major dilemmas of human existence: destiny vs free will, contingency vs certainty (Antoinetta Angelidi, Thief or Reality, 2001). Dream is again the canvas of the story of two boys and a girl who are in a liminal state, between life and death, between sexes, between dream and reality. With an impressive pace which takes the spectators to an unexpected initiation voyage (Angelos Frantzis, In the Woods, 2010).
The idea of a sacred ritual is sought in confrontation between Greek mythologies and other continents mythologies in the rituals of the Tarahumaras, who observed by Carasco according to Brenez, “are neither raped nor pillaged, but are depicted following the traces of Antonin Artaud” (Raymonde Carasco, Artaud and the Tarahumaras, 1996). Hogarth’ s engravings the four stages of cruelty inspire a meditation on Artaud stressing his links with the great mystic Heliogabalus, his search for his past in the Orient as well as his addiction to opium (Vouvoula Skoura, The Four Stages of Cruelty for Antonin Artaud). The ritual of fire walking has been masterly caught by the lenses of Roussos Koundouros (Roussos Koundouros, Anastenaria).