The Trojan Women: Readings of Space and Aesthetics in the Film Adaptation of Euripides by Michael Cacoyannis


This paper assesses the cinematic adaptation of The Trojan Women (1971) by Michael Cacoyannis. Focusing on his “molding” of space, the paper discusses the depth of Cacoyannis’s sensitivity and awareness of painting, architecture, and sculpture, plus his manifold dialogues with the East. The following eight aspects are explored: The treatment of space in this film, which comprises various scales, including Eastern, Greek, and Western geographies. Beauty as a stratagem of both survival and authority appropriated by Helen. Cacoyannis’s lessons from Eastern, mainly Japanese painting and film. The role of color in this film. The kind of “modern” spatialities created by camera movement. The purposeful cinematic reincarnation of ancient Greek sculpture through choreographies of the bodies of Trojan women, which draws upon the graded placement of classical pedimental sculptures. The symbolic role of fire in The Trojan Women, and finally, the city as a sublime locus of sanctity, destruction but also restitution.