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Epidaurus defiled by naked actress - film directors face court action

22 September 2014 / 23:09:23  GRReporter
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Two internationally renowned directors will stand trial for charges of desecrating an archaeological monument - the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. One of them spoke of the "terrible stench of creeping nationalism".

French-Swiss director Olivier Jossois who filmed scenes from a documentary about the German director Matthias Langhoff in the Epidaurus theatre was arrested on Thursday along with Langhoff himself, the French actress Nicole Marcy and the operator.

The arrest happened early in the morning after an alert by the guard that during the filming of the documentary, for which producers claim to have permission from the competent authorities, the French actress was naked in the theatre.

Members of the crew were arrested for desecration of the monument and were taken to the police station in Nafplio where, after a verbal order of the prosecutor, they were released and a file was opened on the matter.

Harsh open letter from Olivier Jossois

Meanwhile on Sunday Olivier Jossois sent an open letter entitled "For the life and death of archaeological monuments" in which he speaks of "a terrible stench of creeping nationalism". The letter says:

"Two years after the making of the film As stone lions at the entrance of the night in Makronisos, I decided to dedicate a documentary to the director Matthias Langhoff. For more than 50 years Langhoff never stopped returning to ancient Greek texts, to bring them before the modern world in the largest theatres in Europe. And even though his performances sometimes shake the text, his purpose has always been to make them as alive as possible. In this respect Matthias Langhoff is more Greek than many Greeks". He is not a "good Greek", but he is a "super Greek".

The letter goes on to say that it was a logical for the film to be shot in Epidaurus – the cradle of Greek theatre, and for a night dialogue between Langhoff and the French playwright, a friend of his, Michelle Deutsch to be directed.

"As stated in the request for pictures approved by the Central Archaeological Council, we would also shoot scenes which Langhoff wanted to use as stage video for his new show entitled Cinéma Apollo, inspired by Alberto Moravia’s novel Contempt and from the motion picture by Jean Luc Godard. The sequel nurtured the scandal: the guards considered that the scenes filmed by Matthias Langhoff for the scene Odysseus and Circe are "pornographic"! The whole team was taken to the police in Nafplio and the shot scenes were seized. My documentary film was interrupted".

Olivier Jossois expresses his opinion that the mission of archaeology is to elucidate, study and protect the remains of past worlds.

The letter ends as follows: "While some artists, among whom Matthias Langhoff, try to revive the stones of Epidaurus with the power of live theatre and art in general, others want only to freeze the place as a cult to the glorious past. This is especially sad, much meaner than the charge against us for the desecration of the monument, I see the terrible stench of creeping nationalism rushing along, to promote an ETHERNAL GREECE, which, I believed, belonged to other ages...".

Tags: Epidaurus ancient theatre Olivier Zhosua desecration
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