A short film showing two men engaging in anal sex in the presence of tourists at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, has caused a controversy in the country, with authorities launching an investigation while outraged citizens called out the unidentified filmmakers. The Acropolis was constructed in the 5th century BCE under the watchful eye of Pericles, and is home to the famed Parthenon temple of the goddess Athena.
The 36-minute film entitled Departhenon was released December 21, but the controversial movie with its explicit sexual content remained unknown to authorities and the greater general public until recently.
“Obviously no permission has been given for these specific scenes from the relevant services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports,” the ministry said in a press release announcing the investigation. “The archaeological site of the Acropolis is not offered for any kind of activism or other activity, which offends and behaves dishonestly at the monument.”
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The short movie, which has the look and feel of a low budget student film, shows a group of male and female actors talking, dancing, making masks, painting their bodies, and otherwise relaxing indoors before moving outdoors to the historic Acropolis where they mingle with tourists. While the tourists can still be heard in the background, the film cuts to a closeup of the midsection of two apparently male actors against the side of a stone wall as they are shown in flagrante engaging in anal sex. They are shielded from the view of the tourists by the fellow actors who closely surrounded the passionate pair.
At no point in the movie can the faces be clearly identified. The actors wore masks and otherwise never showed their faces to the camera.
Scene from Departhenon
According to the film’s website, the filmmakers knew their short work, which they described as a form of political activism, would cause controversy, but admitted that was their intention and added they included the explicit sex in the movie “just because we fancy so” and “because eros and sexuality play an important role in our lives.”
While they clearly sought publicity for their project, they claimed it would be inaccurate “if somebody believed that the main goal of this film is reaction,” saying instead the film centers “the desire and need to live in the way that we want.”
The president of the Greek Actors’ Association expressed outrage and said the film was inappropriate.
“You can’t do everything in the name of activism,” Spyros Bibilas was quoted on local television by the Independent. “In fact, I don’t consider this to be activism.”
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Greek authorities promised to fully “investigate the circumstances under which the incident took place and to give responsibilities.”
The news of the investigation was welcomed by Bibilas.
“As a Greek, I feel ashamed,” Bibilas said.
You can watch the complete film Departhenon here. Viewer discretion is advised.