Until his tragic and untimely death in 2012, Theo Angelopoulos had been, for over 40 years, the avatar of Greek (and Balkan) cinema, earning dozens of prizes for his films. For some, he personified the unkind image of Michelangelo Antonioni as ridiculed by Orson Welles, who wrinkled his nose at the Italian master’s penchant for what he saw as mannered, indulgent, artistically negligible long takes; for others, he occupied the upper echelon of transcendent visionaries such as Bresson, Dreyer – and Antonioni. A trademark Angelopoulos master-shot will begin with a close-up or medium; the camera will proceed on tracks, along a course that is sideways, receding, or a combination thereof; the small business of the first few frames slowly gives way to grand, elaborate spectacle, as if the world is a metropolitan opera, both ancient and contemporary, and Angelopoulos is its all-powerful director, holding the eternity of theater and the spiritual condition of Southeast Europe in his hands. His films are often fraught with nostalgia and anxiety, simultaneously mourning a lost (or betrayed, or amnesiac) Europe and identifying the smallest glimmers of hope.
What to see?
- The Weeping Meadow (2004) [DVD] [Netflix]
- Eternity and a Day (1998) [DVD] [Netflix]
- Ulysses’ Gaze (1995)
- The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991)
- Landscape in the Mist (1988) [DVD] [Netflix]
- Voyage to Cythera (1984)
- The Travelling Players (1975)
Of Interest / Possibly of Interest:
- The Dust of Time (2008)
- O melissokomos (1986)