A furore has erupted in Greece over a film shot at the Acropolis in Athens, which shows two men having sex.

The 36-minute film entitled Departhenon was shown for the first time in mid-December to an audience at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki without controversy. After the film was posted online in early January, outrage grew.

Greek officials are indignant over the film. The Ministry of Culture, in a statement, said they hoped to “find as soon as possible those responsible for this illegal shoot.” It is as yet not apparent if any employees of the UNESCO-listed site were involved in the film’s production, although it has not been ruled out by officials who are investigating.

The archeological site of the Acropolis is not suitable for any kind of activism or other activity which would cause offence and displays disrespect for the monument,” the Ministry said, according to the Associated Press

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Shot in a Tight Close-Up and Lasts for 45 Seconds

The clip in question occurs 24 minutes into the film, is shot in a tight close-up and lasts for 45 seconds. The men, whose faces are not shown, are shielded from view by others standing around them. Although tourists can be seen as the camera moves away, it is not apparent whether anyone was aware of what had been happening.

The film contains other scenes with sexual content involving men and women, however, these were not filmed in public.

The filmmakers, who remain anonymous, have called the film “an artwork that is also a political action.”

A warning on the film’s webpage says, “In some cultures part of the film is considered appropriate only for adult hu(wo)man individuals.”

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‘Defending the Public Existence and Coexistence of All Sexualities’

In a statement, the filmmakers said, Some of us face physical and verbal violence because of our choices and expressions on sexuality, while we know that other people are killed or imprisoned as well because they have what is called by some as abnormal sexuality.”

“Let this small gesture be a voice saying that nobody is alone. We will be living eros and sexuality just as we wish and we will be defending the public existence and coexistence of all sexualities that do not violate the self-determination of our bodies.”

The choice of the Parthenon as a place is not a random one. It is for many a budge of nationalism, worshipping of antiquity, patriarchy, commercialization, mass culture and social appropriateness among others,” the filmmakers said and added, “It would be wrong… if somebody believed that the main goal of this film is reaction. It is more about the desire and need to live in the way that we want. We do not see anything strange or unnatural in what we do.”

The film can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and can be streamed for free.

‘As a Greek, I Feel Ashamed’

The president of the Greek ActorsAssociation, Spyros Bibilas, said,You can’t do anything you want in the name of activism. In fact, I dont consider this to be activism… As a Greek, I feel ashamed.”

No one can use the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis for so-called activist actions and revolutionary acts, which are in fact both stupid and immoral,” Bibilas told Greek television network ANT1.

Meanwhile, the union, which represents guards of Greek museums and archaeological sites, stated its “outrage and shame,” calling the film “vile.”

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has yet to release a statement on the controversy.

The filmmakers have described the plot of the film, saying, “The story involves two men who after some hiking with their company, they narrate to them about their past as an ex-couple. About their erotic adventures and that they no longer have the courage and the eroticism which they once had. The company decides to mediate so that they find all these and creates a context of sensuality and transcendence.”

“A fissure is created in the public space, and specifically at the archaeological site of the Parthenon, which is symbolically charged with nationalistic and heteronormative elements, so that the saught eroticism can flourish.”

The Acropolis and its monuments are Greece’s most visited landmark. UNESCO describes the site as “the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times” and as “universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.”

The filmmakers also noted in their manifesto that the “Parthenon is a beautiful place for somebody to make love, don’t forget the view (we took care to be away from the cement path during our best moments).”

 

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