8 minutes, 1990

Still from Antigone, 1990

Still from Antigone, 1990




Production, Camera, Editing, Narration: Gary Popovich

Sound: Randall Smith, Gary Popovich

Actors: Barbara Sternberg, Steve Sanguedolce, Mike Hoolboom, Gary Popovich

Premiered at TIFF 1990


A blast of fresh air on the experimental scene, this cheeky, postmodern story about a story rips apart any pretensions we may hold about the avant-garde, the Canadian film industry, or narrative itself.
— Cameron Bailey, Festival of Festivals

“Shot in an abandoned warehouse, documenting a contemporary adaptation of the Oedipus story by a group of Toronto experimental filmmakers, Antigone is both a documentary about searching for meaning and validity in the old story, and a fiction about the failure to find any value but parody.”

Gary Popovich

“Give Gary Popovich eight minutes of screen time, and he’ll set the film world on its ear. While the Festival of Festivals makes its splash with conventional films and the presence of bankable Hollywood stars, Popovich is a pest lurking in the experimental underground. Clint Eastwood, Dennis Hopper and Whoopi Goldberg get the red-carpet, black-tie treatment; Gary Popovich sandwiches his eight minutes of glory between the works of other experimental filmmakers in a night screening devoid of hype…Form, not story, is Popovich’s forté. His latest film, the eight-minute long Antigone, takes a swipe at the narrowness of cinema by trying to do away with one of its oldest story-lines—the Oedipus story, the story of the infamous Greek, who killed his father and married his mother. Antigone attempts to do what its title implies. The film is named after Oedipus’ daughter, who was condemned for burying the body of her brother against the wishes of others. When a friend decided to base an experimental film on the Oedipus legend—with Popovich cast as Oedipus—Popovich brought a camera of his own along to catch some of the action. ‘Antigone is about trying to bury something that won’t go away,’ he says, ‘it won’t be buried for a lot of reasons.’ What he can’t bury, he subverts. Antigone rolls out black and white, silent movie style, with a blast of horns and the mock-mournful strains of the violin. Slapstck sounds and Popovich’s narration prick the pretensions of those involved in retelling the legend. Eight minutes and a mere $400 later, his point is made. ‘The way I sometimes work is to shoot first and ask questions later. I guess I was asking myself ‘What does this mean now?’”  

Sean Condon, St. Catharine’s Standard, 1990