August 10, 2009

New Acropolis Museum accused of censoring iconoclasm from film

Posted at 12:40 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

More coverage of the removal of depictions of the iconoclasm from a film on display in the New Acropolis Museum.

Agence France Presse

Acropolis Museum accused of muzzling filmmaker
(AFP) – 20 hours ago

ATHENS — A rights group has accused Greece’s new Acropolis Museum of censoring a video that shows early Christians vandalising antiquities after complaints attributed to the country’s Orthodox Church.

The Greek section of the Helsinki Monitor (GHM) on human rights on Monday said it had filed an injunction application against the museum, demanding that the video by prominent French filmmaker Costa-Gavras be restored in full.

GHM said the museum had excised a 12-second segment from a Gavras animation video showing robed figures hacking away sculptures from the iconic Athens Parthenon, a reference to the ancient temple’s transformation into a basilica when Christianity supplanted paganism in Greece after the 4th century AD.

In statements to Greek TV station Mega, Gavras — a former president of the Cinémathèque française — has blamed the Church for the move.

“I think it’s sad and unacceptable for Greece, a member of the European Union, that the state would bow before pressure from the Church,” the Greek-born filmmaker said.

“The Church has always denied reality to protect its dogma. I thought that Greece had rid itself of such pettiness,” he added.

The episode is less known in Greece than other misfortunes that befell the Parthenon in its 2,500-year-old history.

The marble temple was badly damaged in a Venetian siege in 1687, and a large number of the sculptures that remained were removed to London in the early 19th century on the orders of British diplomat Lord Elgin.

The Acropolis Museum, which opened in June, has denied censoring Gavras, and notes that the segment was removed “to avoid misunderstanding” given that the circumstances of the Parthenon’s transformation into a church are not fully known.

The injunction is scheduled to be discussed in December.

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