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The Owl's Legacy

Co-presented by Acropolis Cinema

Long unavailable in the U.S. and Canada, Chris Marker's The Owl's Legacy will come to Laemmle audiences in a special release from Icarus Films. Each episode of the 13-part series takes as its starting point a different word that originated in ancient Greece—including 'symposium,' 'democracy' and 'nostalgia'—inspiring a wide-ranging exploration of that concept in contemporary culture. The series is newly restored by The Cinémathèque Française.

Episode 1 - 'Symposium,' or the Received Ideas: In Paris, Tbilisi, Athens and Berkeley historians have played with reconstitutions of the “symposium” – the Greek banquet – around tables laden with food and wine.

Episode 2 - 'Olympics,' or the Imaginary Greece: Greece's inheritance was recomposed in contemporary mythology. This sometimes led to terrible misappropriations for the benefit of totalitarian ideologies – of which Nazism was born.

Episode 3 - 'Democracy,' or the City of Dreams: What does the word “democracy” specifically mean when it refers to ancient city-states or to our current political systems?

Episode 4 - 'Nostalgia,' or the Impossible Return: Ithaca is the iconic distant home that no one should forget: such would be the universal lesson of Homer's Odyssey.

Episode 5 - 'Amnesia,' or the Sense of History: Built on the testimony or “autopsy” – which literally means “seeing oneself” – our conception of History has deeply shifted since Herodotus.

Episode 6 - 'Mathematics,' or the Realm of Signs: The geometrical space and the mathematical language constitute a universal legacy the Greeks have bequeathed us with. How do we articulate its perfect logic to the complexity of contemporary sciences?

Episode 7 - 'Logomachy,' or the Root of Words: All the meanings of “logos” originated from a small territory between Ephesus and Patmos. According to Aristotle the human animal fights with a specific weapon: speech... Logos’ destiny would it be the “logomachy”? The fight over words.

Episode 8 - 'Music,' or the Inner Space: A cross between imitation and creation, the search for the beautiful and harmonious animates the artists’ personal quests – including with cutting-edge technology – as well as it serves great collective schemes – religions in particular.

Episode 9 - 'Cosmogony,' or the Use of the World: This reflection over creation – divine cosmogony and man's creativity – takes us from the Greek statuary art to the Acropolis’ Korai on show in Tokyo. This takes us on towards the Gorgon – a mirror of death.

Episode 10 - 'Mythology,' or the Truth of Lies: There are a set of myths to which we constantly refer ourselves. We will question their genesis, their place in psyche, their transmission, their nature.

Episode 11 - 'Misogyny,' or Desire's Traps: The Greek conception of sexuality was very different from ours. What did the Greek think of desire in a world where heterosexuality and homosexuality – far from being opposites – were models of existence that were different but compatible?

Episode 12 - 'Tragedy,' or the Illusion of Death: The great figures borne out of Greek tragedies help us fathom the founding mechanisms of human practices – all the way to a society like Japan, that is so apparently far from ours.

Episode 13 - 'Philosophy,' or the Owl’s Triumph: Around the metaphorical – but also very real – figure of the owl; entwined reflections upon the place of thought in daily existence and public action – sometimes with and sometimes against the Greek legacy.

Played at

Ahrya Fine Arts, 5.31.19 - 6.02.19
Rated NR This film is subtitled This film is subtitled
Runtime: 336 min
Language: English, French, Greek, Japanese, Russian