Full Unemployment Cinema Presents:
Dogtooth | Free | Common House | 7.30pm
Dogtooth, (1h 33mins) 2009
+ (short) Necktie, 2013
Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos
it’s a thought about the future. What if there were no more families anymore? Do we actually need them?
— Giorgos Lanthimos interviewed by Larry Rohter
As part of our season on Gendered Labour and Reproduction we are showing the cruel Euro-Debt-crisis allegory Dogtooth alongside the murderous metaphysical short, Necktie. Dogtooth is a provocative and disturbing film about the effect on a middle-class suburban family when the father takes total control of the lives of the three adult children, restricting their access to the outside world. Presumably in their early to middle twenties, the three unnamed children, a boy and his two sisters (Christos Passalis, Aggeliki Papoulia, and Mary Tsoni) walk, talk, and act like zombies.
The family and parental authority here can be seen as representations of the nation, and especially of authority, of the Greek State and ruling class. The parents exercise control over the behaviour and minds of their children through the deliberate manipulation of knowledge and information in the first instance. Throughout the film, the parents teach the ‘children’ words with incorrect definitions. They also tell them that the outside world is full of dangers and unspeakable horrors and that they are only ready to face these dangers alone when their dogtooth falls out, thus setting them a target that they can never achieve. In Dogtooth, both parents maintain control over their children’s behaviour with indirect control over information and only resort to violent means when the eldest daughter begins to engage in behaviour beyond the limits set by her parents.
This model of dictatorial power reflects Greece of the post-war period up until the collapse of the military Junta in 1973, which marked the culmination and apparent end to this direct mode of social control. That period was defined by formally democratic governments with serious restrictions on certain forms of activity, a prominent place for traditional institutions such as the Orthodox Church and the Army, as well as the existence of the parakratos – or the parastate – shadowy groups that used violence to curb forms of politics that existed beyond the pale of the strongly anti-communist, pro-Western Greek State. The murder of Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963 is an example of the way this arrangement worked, and his story became the inspiration for the Costas Gavras film Z.
For an excellent pre-history of the roots of the crisis in Greece: the story of the UK-US involvement in defeating a viable post-war communist movement in Greece and propping up regressive political forms for the last half of the 20th century ‘Athens 1944 Britain’s Dirty Secret’ by Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/30/athens-1944-britains-dirty-secret
More recent essays on Grexit and the rise of Syriza:
Some Notes on Syriza by Ady Amatia
On Syriza by TPTG
Alexis Pottis Explains the Euro Crisis
The Glass Floor By Theorie Communiste (AKA Theo Cosme)
The Common House
Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens
London E2 9QGT