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Olympisme ou La Grèce imaginaire 

Instead of its commonly assumed use to promote Democracy, thinkers show how the Nazis distorted the legacy of ancient Greece, such as the Olympics, for their own undemocratic purposes.


Chris Marker


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Episode credited cast:
André Dussollier ... Récitant / Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Daniel Andler Daniel Andler ... Himself
Theodoros Angelopoulos ... Himself (as Theo Angelopoulos)
Kostas Axelos Kostas Axelos ... Himself
Catherine Belkhodja Catherine Belkhodja
Linos Benakis Linos Benakis ... Himself
Richard Bennett Richard Bennett ... Himself
Christiane Bron Christiane Bron ... Herself
Cornelius Castoriadis Cornelius Castoriadis
Sophie Chauveau Sophie Chauveau
Dimitri Delis Dimitri Delis ... Himself
Patrick Descamps Patrick Descamps ... Himself
Marcel Detienne Marcel Detienne ... Himself
Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux ... Herself
Kostas Georgousopoulos ... Himself


Instead of its commonly assumed use to promote Democracy, thinkers show how the Nazis distorted the legacy of ancient Greece, such as the Olympics, for their own undemocratic purposes.

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Release Date:

9 February 1990 (France) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

FIT Productions See more »
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References Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Episode Two - Olympics or Imaginary Greece
6 June 2011 | by meddlecoreSee all my reviews

In this episode Marker continues his symposium, in which the discussion has shifted to how Greek texts affected German philosophers and the progression of the German state. He mixes the interviews with clips from Leni Riefenstahl's masterpiece "Olympia - Fest Der Voelker" (Olympia - Festival of the Nations), about the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. These combine for some brilliant correlations which explain many of the images taken from Riefenstahl's film. They begin by discussing how Hitler claimed that Germany was the closest state to be based on the principles of ancient Greece. And how he, in fact, went as far as saying that they were the only state to be based on ancient Greece; mainly pre-socratic Greece. The symposium participants refute this though and explain why it was an absurd declaration, as many people had translated the Greek texts in many languages by this time. They continue by oulining the reasons why the progression of German philosophy was being hindered, when compared to the rest of Europe. They argue that German philosophers first went wrong when it came to their translation of "Polis". Whereas the rest of the world translated it as a community of people, German philosophers translated it as "Der Staat". They cite an old Greek thinker whom discussed how if the idea of the Polis were to eve become synonymous with the state, that it would lead to Fascism. This would reign to be true in more modern times as well. Next they describe how the Germans took more from ancient Greek art and sport, than they did from the great thinkers of Greece. Here Marker inserts a clip from Riefenstahl's film which perfectly accents this aspect of the discussion. They do discuss, though, how German philosophers focused on pre-Socratic thought, rather than later thinkers that inspired Christians such as Socrates and Plato, and how this led to the revival of Dionysian rituals, and in turn a sort of neo-paganism which would allow Nazism to thrive. They conclude by determining that what Germany was, in fact, doing, was basing it's philosophy on "Imaginary Greece", and that this is what steered them away from ideals and democracy, thus stunting their philosophical and political progression.

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