Directed by Chris Marker • Documentary • 1989 • 26 minutes
Western history is said to begin with the Greeks—more specifically, with Herodotus, credited as the first historian. But the ancient Greek conception of history, based on the idea of self-examination, is very different from current conceptions. History in some ways is the interplay between remembering and forgetting—and it always being reconsidered and reimagined.
Located at the intersection of Asia, Europe, and Africa, Greece has long been a pawn in the games played by the great powers of the day, be they French, Russian, British, German, or American.
This episode, primarily featuring director Elia Kazan (with clips from his film America, America) and writer Vassilis Vassilikos, covers the “period of amnesia” in Greek history from the war of independence against the Ottomans to the overthrow of the junta and permanent exile of the king in the 1970s. It is a period filled with absurdities like a Bavarian child-king who spoke no Greek, alongside tragedies, including the Greek Civil War of 1947-1949, the massacre of the Greeks of Asia Minor, and the military coup of the Colonels.