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Iphigenia (MGM World Films)

4.8 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Foreign Film - Other
Rating: NR
Release Date: 24-JUL-2007
Media Type: DVD


A timeless classic of Greek tragedy is brought vividly to life in the Oscar-nominated Iphigenia, an engrossing and lavish adaptation of Euripides' play Iphigenia in Aulis. Director Michael Cacoyannis (Zorba the Greek) had previously adapted Euripides with his acclaimed 1962 version of Electra and 1972's The Trojan Women, but this 1977 production is widely regarded as the director's finest adaptation. In some respects the film is almost too ambitious; although generally well-received by critics and highly praised by literary scholars, its epic scale and larger-than-life performances threaten to diminish the story's emotional impact. For the most part, however, Cacoyannis succeeds in building palpable tension in retelling the gut-wrenching story of commander Agamemnon (played with theatrical grandiosity by Costa Kazakos), who is preparing to launch his legendary fleet of 1,000 army ships to retrieve the beautiful Helen of Troy. But the wind refuses to blow in the sails of the fleet, and Agamemnon is fatefully convinced that military victory can only be achieved if he sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia (Tatiana Papamoskou) to the gods. Faced with her husband's deception and betrayal, Clytemnestra (Irene Pappas) responds with vengeful wrath, and Iphigenia reaches a fever pitch of clashing agendas and devastating turmoil. Cacoyannis remains faithful to Euripides while making some smart decisions of adaptation; there's no need here for the theatrical tradition of a Greek chorus, and the play's tragic impact is greatly enhanced by epic-scale visuals and the fierce performance of Pappas in one of the best roles of her career. And while Iphigenia may lack the opulence of later epics like Troy and Kingdom of Heaven, it still ranks among the most impressive efforts to bring Greek tragedy to the screen. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Irene Papas, Tatiana Papamoschou, Kostas Kazakos
  • Directors: Michael Cacoyannis
  • Writers: Euripides
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Greek, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFS6E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,154 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Iphigenia (MGM World Films)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This is the last film in director Michael Cacoyannis's Greek Tragedy trilogy after his early Sixties "Electra" (featuring Irene Pappas in the title role) and his early Seventies "The Trojan Women" (which starred Katherine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Genevieve Bujold and, once again, Irene Pappas - as Helen of Troy).

All three movies are based on the works of Euripides - who was born approximately 484 BCE and died circa 406 BCE. Out of all the ancient Greek tragedians his work has arguably the most relevance to a contemporary audience as it eloquently demonstrates the causes and nature of human suffering especially in circumstances of war or multiple murder. Despite our current familiarity with these subjects we may not always perhaps be able to fully comprehend the nature of the painful emotional consequences involved.

"Iphigenia" is significantly more low-budget than the visually impressive second film in the trilogy and yet it has it's own considerable emotional power. Like the first film of the three it is spoken in Greek with English subtitles.

As the film opens the Greek army is waiting at Aulis for the winds to pick up in order that they may sail to Troy. But they have been waiting many months and no such winds have arrived. The troops have become restless and are on the verge of mutiny. Agamemnon - the commander in chief - has sought advice from the Oracle at Delphi as to the best solution to this problem. To his shock and horror the answer returns that in order to sail to Troy and be successful in the ensuing war he must sacrifice his beloved daughter Iphigenia.

Initially Agamemnon refuses to perform such a deed. He attempts to seek any way out that he possibly can.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stunning, profound, expressive. This is Michael Cacoyannis' greatest masterpiece of three Euripidean tragedies. His first was "Electra" which was a stark drama in Black and White shot at the actual ruins of King Agamemnon's palace at Mycenae in Southern Greece. The second was in color - "The Trojan Woman" - a disturbing portrait of men's cruelty to the vanquished in war. The third, my personal favorite, is this film. While it involves the sweep of historical events, it remains focused on a highly intense family drama - a heart wrenching decision between duty versus love.

What is the story of Iphigenia? Agamemnon assumes the honor,duty, and responsibility of leading the troops of Greece to war with Troy so as to avenge his brother's mistreatment by a Trojan prince. Having killed a sacred deer of the goddess (Artemis), the King discovers the winds will not blow for the Greeks. That means his battle ships cannot launch. To persuade the Gods to give him the wind to victory, the King learns he must sacrifice that person most dear to him, his innocent and
virginal daughter, Iphiginia. Agamemnon's reaction when he discovers the terrible choice he must make is a frightful anger. He clearly does not want to lose his flesh and blood, his innocence, but he is also realizes he is asking his troops to risk death in the upcoming war. Ultimately, and reluctantly, he chooses death for his daughter. Eventually she discovers her terrible destiny...as does her mother Clytemnestra. The mother refuses to allow it, but Iphigenia sees the honor of being martyred and chooses to die...and therefore to live for Greece.

The last moment of the film is everything Greek tragedy should be. We see the knife, Agamemnon's stark reaction to the horror, and the wind blows at long last.
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Format: DVD
NOTA BENE. The following review was that of the VHS transfer of the film. Amazon allows you to edit your reviews, but not your rating. If it were not so, my rating of this DVD tranfer would be ONE star only. I was stunned by the gall of MGM World Film! How dare they sabotage Cacoyannis' masterpiece? How could the idiots who published this DVD took so much liberty with the original film, cropping it on all sides. As a result, the long shots are seriously shrunk, the people in the full shots are most of the time cropped, and even more so the close-ups, which are badly damaged, giving the impression that Cacoyannis does not know how to use his camera. (Where is Criterion when we need it?) Therefore, I give ONE star to this disaster of a transfer, which has irremediably damage this beautiful production.

Mikhali Cacoyannis is peharps the first film director to have successfully brought the feel of ancient Greek theatre to the screen. Cacoyannis' film was based on his stage production of the play, produced first in Greece then taken on tour, where it played at the Classic Stage Company in New York. His own screenplay, an adaptation of Euripides' tragedy was far from easy, compared to that of the other two films of the trilogy he directed. The text of the original play contains many inconsistencies resulting from the fact that the play is thought to have been put together after Euripides' death, by his own son, using rough drafts. However, Cacoyannis, in his transcription of the tragedy to the screen, seems to have done away with these inconsistencies and ambiguities.
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