The Trojan Women (1971)
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Plodding, stage bound dull drama of the sack of Troy. Some great actresses marooned in this turgid undertaking.
The film is unsuccesful in many ways and is flawed; it is mostly the rythm that suffers as the tragic mode/style of talking doesn't match the 'naturalistic' cinematic art. Cacoyannis tries to bring some cinematic effects as equivalents to the play's stylized structure (such as the choral section with the montage of the faces of Trojan women as a way to evoke ritualistic effects) but not all of them succeed. I would say that it fails because of that: looking for equivalents in film language for another language (that of ancient Greek theatre) is the problem, instead of trying to reimagine from scratch the play in cinematic terms as Pasolini did for his own adaptations of tragedies. Yet, despite its flaws, the film manages to be really powerful at times. This is thanks to the text itself as well as the masterful performances, especially by Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba and Vanessa Redgrave as Andromache. It definitely deserves to be seen as it can be rewarding for those who have some patience to spare.
The Trojan Women earns a sympathetic but low 3 star rating from me. This is the type of film I want to come off. This is the same director that did Iphigenia and Antigone and both came off very well as tragedies. Unfortunately, with Trojan Women the acting is very mixed. At times it is very good, but it is also often overwrought. I have to put this down to the directing and I suspect there may have been communication issues since Irene Papas comes off solid as Helen. Also, the sound is often very poor with the windy, open outdoor location and that may have caused the actresses to frequently shout their lines. Still, as a lover of Greek myth and drama, I find Trojan Women passable and admire the efforts made.
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