The word ‘OXI’ is the Greek word for ‘NO’. It is also a powerful political signifier. A sign that has appeared throughout history signifying ‘Resistance’ on streets, in public places and even on the Acropolis itself during Ottoman and Nazi occupation.


‘OXI: An Act of Resistance’ is an international feature film which offers a direct response, using drama, philosophy, and poetry, to the deep economic crisis in Europe and the rest of the world. The film suggests that there is a perennial repetition compulsion in history, and holds up a distant mirror to the contemporary world. ‘OXI: An Act of Resistance’ intends to re-balance many of the absurd perceptions of Greek culture and history that have been so distorted as part of a program of destructive propaganda against the country and its people. Greece, both ancient and contemporary, is portrayed as the observational laboratory for predictions on the future; key moments in the classical dramas of Sophocles and Aristophanes are played out and underscored by serious political and philosophical commentary (Etienne Balabar, Helen Cixous, Antonio Negri). Using epic texts and dramatic sequences from the ‘tragedies’, the film weaves a filmic tableau of power and poetic beauty.

Whilst occasionally using contemporary elements, the film is a full narrative feature film, which, in its use of cinematic construction and narrative juxtaposition, interrogates the nature of motion picture itself and its relation to repressed unconscious strata. As with Aristophanes (sections of whose play, ‘The Frogs’, are filmed here), ‘OXI: An Act of Resistance’ attempts to integrate moments of the absurd into this deeply disturbing political reality, highlighting the multifaceted nature and fragility of the human condition, not just in Greece, but in all places that are vulnerable to blind economic forces.


Directors Notes

 OXI An Act of Resistance

‘OXI: An Act of Resistance’ was not an easy film to make, and is not an easy film to describe. The reasons for that are found in its subject matter and in its search to find a sympathetic form. The film attempts to give cinematic reflection to the ongoing austerity crisis that is gradually undermining our sense of the benign in contemporary existence, often without recognition of the fractures created. ‘OXI: An Act of Resistance’ places both classical tragedy and contemporary politics into a single dramatic frame. It is the result of a deep journey into the nature of dramatic catharsis and a large number of political and economic interviews and reflections.
The film required a fresh approach to dramatic construction and to the integration of actuality footage. By blurring the boundaries between objective and subjective worlds, ‘OXI’ perhaps points towards a newly developing genre in cinema. The style of shooting involved many long takes with gentle camera movement; this closes in on the performances, evocative landscape (which acts as a text in itself), and raw street footage. Ancient texts are underscored by contemporary encounters where strangely, unknown to participants, the same themes re-occur and the same words are suddenly spoken. It is as if the unconscious, prompted by extreme external circumstances, breaks through to find utterance. 

In working through the many processes involved in this film it became necessary to juxtapose very different acting, performance and shooting methods. The work draws on deep traditions in Greece, the clarity of acting styles in the UK and France, and on a degree of improvisation. The fusion of these elements, I believe, results in a dialectical synthesis which, in its form, mirrors the movement of historic forces we are witnessing today.

‘OXI’ is the word and also the sign of resistance used for centuries of occupation in Greece. 

Key Points of Interest: OXI: An Act of Resistance seamlessly weaves a web of fiction and documentary. It is a vital international feature film for today, which draws on the great classical dramas of Sophocles (Antigone/Oedipus Rex), Aristophanes (The Frogs), and the poetry of Cavafy. It underpins these with the contemporary philosophical and political insights of Étienne Balibar, Hélène Cixous and Antonio Negri. The film holds a mirror to the ever-present abuse of state power by those who act out their roles on the political stage.

OXI: An Act of Resistance (2014) |  Director Ken McMullen |Runtime: 100 min | Country: Greece/UK | Language: French/ English /Greek G Ratio: 1:33 | Colour | Colour Sound Mix: Mono Genre: Drama | Certification: UK:15| Executive Producer: Martin McQuillan Producer:  Associate Producer (Greece) Katerina Iordanoglou |Writer: Ken McMullen | Principle Cast: Gabrielle Wright, Dominique Pinon, John Shrapnel, Lex Shrapnel, Julia Faure | Cinematographer: Stuart Biddlecomb / Marion Boutin (PARIS) | Film Editing: Justinian Buckley | Original Music: Adrian Munsey ⋅ David Cunningham⋅ The Cabinet of Living Cinema 


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