1964–67. USA. Written and directed by Gregory Markopoulos. 92 min.
1964. USA. 12 min.
One of Markopoulos's most ravishing and sophisticated works, The Illiac Passion is a contemporary reimagining of the classical Prometheus myth, filmed in New York City and on Long Island. Robert Beavers presents The Illiac Passion together with newly preserved silent rushes drawn from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Kristen M. Jones observes that “for a viewer seeing this extravagant ode to creation some thirty years after its making, the film’s most plangent moments involve Markopoulos’s affectionate casting of friends as mythical figures—Andy Warhol’s Poseidon pumping on an Exercycle above a sea of plastic, Taylor Mead’s Demon leaping, grimacing, and streaming vermilion fringes, and [Jack] Smith’s bohemian Orpheus, spending a quiet afternoon at home with Eurydice.” Reciting Thoreau’s translation of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Unbound in an incantatory, at times hesitating, voice, Markopoulos “selects words for repetition…making the literal sense of the text thoroughly abstract” (P. Adams Sitney).