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The Owl's Legacy: Nostalgia, or The Impossible Return

The Owl's Legacy: Nostalgia, or The Impossible Return

“It’s the most Greek word I know. In a sense, it defines Greece.” --Vassilis Vassilikos

Nostalgia is there right at the start of the Greek literary tradition. Odysseus, after a decade of fighting the Trojan War, must wander another decade before finally returning home to Ithaca. For millennia to follow, nostalgia—a word drawn from roots meaning “longing for home” and “pain”--continued to mark the Greek experience.

Greeks feel nostalgia on many levels and in many capacities. They are immigrants who idealize their homeland. Citizens of the contemporary world who feel a longing for and connection with the glories of the past (naming their children Electra, Diogenes, or Archimedes, for instance). And a people occupied by invaders for centuries, left wondering what remains of their culture. Modern Greeks take pride in the enormous influence the ancients have had on the Western world. But are they really, as George Steiner would notoriously have it, “a parody” of the past?

“We should raze the Sorbonne and put Chris Marker in its place.” —Henri Michaux

The primary pleasure of the series, which is incredibly inspiring, is linked to this great banquet of participants, the sum of knowledge they invoke, but above all to the playful flows the editing establishes between their ideas, constructing a formidable network of meanings, historical and cultural perspectives -  a veritable encyclopedia of development." —Le Monde

“Why did we have to wait so long for this electrifyingly intelligent film?” —Le Point

“Thirteen words to uncover an entire civilization and reestablish its considerable influence on our modern societies.” —Les Inrockuptibles

“With erudition, Chris Marker questions in each episode what remains Greek within us.” —Philosophie Magazine


Main credits

Marker, Chris (film director)
Peck, Bob (narrator)

Other credits

Music, Eleni Karaindrou [and 3 others]; camerapersons, Andreas Sinanos, Jimmy Glasberg; editing team, Khadicha Bariha, Nedjma Scialom.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Historical Anthropology
Ancient Greece
Chris Marker


"The Owl's Legacy"; Icarus Films; France; Chris Marker; Ancient Greece; culture; ,doc,art; history; shod

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