L’Héritage de la chouette
Twelve words of Greek origin which Chris Marker peels apart in order to understand what the modern world has inherited from ancient Greek. From the United States to Japan, he walked around with his camera in places where every word has meaning, meeting Hellenists, logicians, politicians, artists, and later confronting their messages in the memories of film libraries.
Filmer à tout prix and Scam present a special screening during the course of which one may view the first four episodes of this documentary series by Chris Marker.
Symposium, or ideas received.
In Paris, Tbilissi, Athens, and Berkeley, historians play along in the reconstruction of the “symposium,” or Greek banquet, around tables garnished with dishes and wine. In this first section and sometimes in those that follow, their meandering conversation explores various themes and ties together, over the course of their digressions, isolated ideas.
2. Olympism, or the imaginary Greece.
Greek heritage, reconstructed in the contemporary imagination, has sometimes given rise to terrible diversions that benefit totalitarian ideologies like Nazism. The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin are, in this respect, symbolic, and in the representation of the body in “Olympia” by Leni Riefensthal, we witness the recuperation of an ideal for the benefit of a whole other aesthetic.
3. Democracy, or the city-state of daydreams.
What, precisely, does the word “democracy” cover when it designates the ancient city-state or our contemporary political systems? What are the analogies or, on the other hand, the radical differences between realities separated by more than twenty years? Are certain functions appropriate to all civilizations?
4. Nostalgia, or the impossible return.
Ithaca, symbol of the faraway fatherland that one must never forget — such is the universal teaching of The Odyssesy by Homer. Which ties could also be forged between a modern Greece which has been tormented, over history, by many exiles; and the ancient Greece, which all humanity claims as their heritage? For Vassilikos, Ionatos and Svoronos, the word that defines Greeks the best is “nostalgia”.