Directed by: Mihalis Kakogiannis (aka: Michael Cacoyannis)
Starring: Irene Pappas, Kostas Kazakos, Kostas Karras, Tatiana Papamoschou, Panos Mihalopoulos
Mihalis Kakogiannis is best known in this country as Michael Cacoyannis (personally, I think it’s a wash as to which is harder to pronounce) for directing the 1964 Zorba the Greek, which was a hit and The Day the Fish Came Out (1967), which wasn’t. He made this version of Iphigenia (1977) back in his native Greece. It’s an odd picture in that it takes something of Norman Jewison’s approach to Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) by shooting the film (presumably cheaply) in ancient ruins. It also starts out looking a bit like we’re in for a wild time with naked soldiers cavorting in the surf, but it quickly settles down into a somewhat dry, perfectly respectable film of the play although it’s often marred by an intrusive and very 1970s musical score. Somewhat strangely, it expends a great deal of energy denouncing the sort of cruel nonsense that people will do in the name of religion, only to turn around and have the prophecy fulfilled when the story’s central atrocity is carried out. I can’t say it’s a bad movie, but I never can get away from the feeling that I’m watching something in a high school classroom when I sit through this sort of thing.
In Brief: Greek film (from the director best known for Zorba the Greek) version of the tragedy by Euripides. Shot amidst ruins (à la Jesus Christ Superstar), this is otherwise pretty straightforward stuff—and it’s going to depend on your fondness (or lack thereof) for Greek tragedy.