Fear, city, cinema: urban regeneration as mental trap in Alexis Alexiou’s film Istoria 52 (Tale 52)

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Abstract

The article analyses Alexis Alexiou’s thriller Istoria 52/Tale 52 (2008) in relation to media and academic discourses on fear and safety in the city. The film’s mise-en-scene does not include any shots of the city, however the off-screen presence of the city is implied as the main driver for the main character’s actions. The film was produced at a time when Athens was undergoing a huge urban regeneration, which remained incomplete, leading to the unwilling coexistence of people from different walks of life. The article offers an analysis of the film’s narrative and, in particular, its spatial dimension, placing it in the context of the contemporaneous urban condition of the Greek capital, which is implied, but not shown, in the film. I argue that the main character’s disturbed mental state, which drives much of the action in the film, is not just a result of an unbalanced psychology. Rather, his desire for isolation and the hyper-protection of private space are reflections of a conservative view on fear and safety in the city, where urban regeneration strategies are simultaneously the solution and the cause of fear and insecurity, trapping people in an endless closed loop.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Greek Media and Culture
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 9 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • city
  • Fear
  • Cinema
  • urban regeneration
  • Athens
  • Greek Cinema

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