@Thessaloniki Film Festival [Nov 2021]

ORFEAS2021 is the video version of the cancelled (due to Covid-19) stage opera ORFEAS2020. It is a sci-fi re-imagining of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo as a parable for contemporary queer life. The film premiered at Thessaloniki International Film Festival and has since been shown at Wicked Queer (at the ICA Boston), Fringe! London Queer film festival (at the Whitechapel Gallery), The Greek Film Festival in Berlin (at Babylon Cinema), ART200 in Bucharest and other film festivals and art spaces in europe and north america. ORFEAS2021 journeys through utopian politics, ideological conflicts and supernatural leaders as it follows the first gay Prime Minister of Greece struggling to carry the legacy of LGTBQ+ rights in a post-truth dystopia. The work is dedicated to the memory of Zak Kostopoulos (Zackie Oh), an LGBT performer and activist who was murdered in a homophobic attack on the streets of central Athens in 2018.

ORFEAS2021 uses typical elements of opera – stylisation, emotional outbursts and gender-bending voice acrobatics – while it translates them into a contemporary spectacle creating a kaleidoscope of VR aesthetics, post-internet visuals, 80s-inspired hauntology and queer DIY collage. ORFEAS2021 invites us to reflect on the very idea of today’s “progressive” politics: What does progress mean in 2022? How can we create a progressive discourse that would appeal to and mobilize the majority? Is progress compatible with or contrary to populism, especially in the age of digital information? How can we talk about identity politics at a time when the notion of “freedom of speech” is hijacked to camouflage neo-reactionary culture wars? Could we design our own populist blockbusters that activate the critical capacity of an audience and not just satisfy a primal craving for the spectacle?