Electra (1962)

MICHAEL CACOYANNIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

Original title:  Ilektra

USA/Greece, 1962.  Finos Film.  Screenplay by Mihalis Kakogiannis, based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Mihalis Kakogiannis.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Spyros Vasileiou.  Film Editing by Mihalis Kakogiannis.  

Riveting drama adapted from the ancient Greek play by Euripides (which was itself inspired by Greek mythology). After returning home from the Trojan wars, Agamemnon is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, then the two of them banish her son Orestes from the land and lock their daughter Electra up in the tower. Years later, when Electra is of marriageable age, she is given to a lowly provincial farmer in the hopes that she won’t bear heirs that can come back to claim the throne from the usurpers. Electra has no intention of letting it get that far, though, and plans a revenge for her father’s death and her own mistreatment that she hopes will destroy the misery that lives within her. Exquisitely directed by Michael Cacoyannis, this stunning film is a magnificent tribute to ancient theatre, with eye-popping visuals and stalwart acting (particularly by , who is fantastic in the lead) that make it solid viewing all the way. The events leading up to this story were later filmed by Cacoyannis (with Papas playing Clytemnestra) in 1977’s Iphigenia.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

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