(aka 'Iphigenia' or 'Ifigenia')
Michael Cacoyannis, director of Electra (1962) and The Trojan Women (1971), has
perhaps for the first time successfully brought the feel of ancient Greek
theatre to the screen. Iphigenia (1977) is based on Euripedes's Iphigenia at
Aulis, a story of an incident just prior to the Trojan War. Helen has run off to
Troy with Paris. Agamemnon, brother to Menaleus, Helen's husband, will lead the
Greek armies to the shores of Troy. But at the Bay of Aulis the armies wait for
winds to carry their boats to Troy. This is where the film begins.
Cacoyannis establishes in just a few minutes of film exposition the restlessness of the Greek armies waiting on the Aulis shore. The men of the armies feel as though the lack of wind were the fault of Agamemnon. The men are tired and hungry, and aching to go into battle. To feed the men, Agamemnon directs soldiers to kill the sheep kept by the holy men who attend the temple of Diana, but the sacred hart is accidentally slain. An oracle is delivered to Agamemnon soon after by Calchas the priest of the temple of Diana. For the wind to blow, Agamemnon must offer up a sacrifice. The armies are jubilant, but what they do not know, and what Agamemnon, Menaleus, Odysseus and Calchas know a few moments after the announcement to the men is that Agamemnon must sacrifice the first-born daughter, Iphigenia.
Theatrical Release: September 10th, 1977 - Toronto Film Festival
DVD Review: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 7.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Greek (Dolby Digital 1.0), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, French, None|
The MGM image shows some strong detail at times and it doesn't appear to have had any significant digital manipulations. MGM have, surprisingly, maintained the allusive 1.66 aspect ratio in a clean, anamorphic, progressive and dual-layered transfer. In testing I had some issues with turning off the subtitles - offered in English, Spanish or French. Audio was clear and there is a Spanish DUB available.
There are zero extra features. Cacoyannis (or 'Kakogiannis') builds a very realistic film and from that standpoint I was very attentive in my viewing. He certainly captured the historic timeframe very well - in a unique fashion. I can't say the film is for everyone but I was quite getting into it. Interesting and quite different from the other Cacoyannis' works I have seen (Stella and A Matter of Dignity - both available on DVD). It is refreshing to see MGM treat world cinema with healthy transfers.