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Commentaries on this Media!

Verbal vs. visual narration; seen/unseen and said/unsaid

by Karen S. Kingsbury

1. This film version repeatedly enacts for the viewer actions that the playscript, at least as read through a pristinely classicist lens, offers only as verbal narration. Here the dramatic events following Creon's recognition of his mistake are enacted for us, using bold setting devices, a large number of non-speaking soldiers, and closeups of the central characters' agonies. What is lost, what is gained, in this turn toward greater visuality? 2. The Sophoclean text focuses directly on questions about what is seen/unseen, and said/unsaid, in the sequence describing Eurydice's reactions to the Messenger's tale. Does this film version help to make those points even clearer and stronger? Or would you say it muddies the issue?

Antigone action scenes

Creon's "off-stage" actions are narrated by the Messenger but also enacted for the film audience.

from Antigone (1961)
Creator: Directed by Yorgos Javellas, with Irene Papas as Antigone
Distributor: Kino Lorber Films (2004)
Posted by Karen S. Kingsbury