Author Topic: Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation  (Read 1381 times)

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Seraphim

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Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« on: October 30, 2003, 06:36:57 AM »
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I recently saw a film of the (too) unknown Greek filmmaster Theo(doros) Angelopoulos- my first encounter with this magnificent master of cinema.

He is often named (by film critics) in the same breath with the very best directors (Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini, Godard, Bresson, etc.) of all time. Of all these, Angelopoulos is by far the least known.

And what a shame is that!
His cinema is really remarkable; just as intellectual as it is emotional and poetic. He really stands out in today’s contemporary cinema.
He is really a “classicist” with just a few modernist tints. He uses the “biggest themes”: history, cultural identity, death, love.
His great use of very long shots and his slow and austere, sombre, pace makes him not really a director for the masses, to say it with understatement.
His cinema is, according to some critics, more reminiscent of that of Eastern European directors than that of South European directors. Especially Tarkovsky and Kieslowski are named often, but also Wajda, for example.

My first encounter, Ulysses’ Gaze, was a great one. Although the film has its flaws (a bit too long, some less interesting scenes, leading role of Harvey Keitel who doesn’t really seem to fit in this film and, most importantly, a bit too much ideas of which not all are outlined well), it was (for me), as a huge fan of the more contemplative cinema, a magnificent picture.
Definitively in the vain of Tarkovsky, albeit less heavy and metaphysical. Angelopoulos’ cinema is a bit less spiritual and filosophical than that of Bergman and Tarkovsky, and a bit more historical (Greek/ Balkan- based) and cultural. He still uses enough spirituality, along with much use of symbols and a stories that are extremely multi-layered.

Ulysses’ Gaze has a truly magnificent photography, much like Kieslowski and Tarkovsky: dark, sombre, highly atmospheric.
Although it’s a Greek movie, Angelopoulos’ films are not really capturing the Greece we know (white picturesque houses on small islands, always burning sun…). His stories are set in the snow, mist, picturing at night, at dawn…

For me, it worked perfectly.

In a few days I will see Eternity and a Day, which I think of as an even better film (based on what I’ve read).

Also Landscape in the Mist and The Travelling Players should be really great.

Let’s hope that Angelopoulos, whether it be near by or in the future, will earn the attention he deserves…
Seraphim's magic words:
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Dead Can Dance/ Cocteau Twins
Literature
European/ Art Cinema:
Tarkovsky, Bresson, Fellini, Angelopoulos

Seraphim

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Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2003, 06:39:30 AM »
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So, to cpmplete...

anyone who likes the abovementioned directors, as well as other (European) Art Cinema, should search for, and try out Angelopoulos'cinematic Gaze...
Seraphim's magic words:
Dutch
Dead Can Dance/ Cocteau Twins
Literature
European/ Art Cinema:
Tarkovsky, Bresson, Fellini, Angelopoulos

Alexandro

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Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2003, 02:03:06 PM »
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Glad someone mentions him...

We all should see more european and asian films. I saw Ulysses Gaze when I was 16 at the theatre and it blew me away completely. I didn't understand everything but was hypnotized most of the film...

Some of those shots are just beautiful...

Eternity and a Day is great too...Bruno Ganz is terrific, but is even more heavy and slow than Ultysses Gaze...a friend of mine told me once: "eternity and a day", that's how that movie feels like in lenght"...

godardian

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Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2003, 05:45:07 PM »
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Landscape in the Mist was my first foreign film... saw it when I was 13. Have seen it many times since then.

It's my favorite of his, but all the ones you mentioned are great, Seraphim. Enjoy, and keep posting your thoughts!

There's an excellent book available, as well: The Films of Theo Angelopoulos by Andrew Horton. The same author also edited a book on Angelopoulos entitled The Last Modernist.
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Seraphim

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Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2003, 05:57:25 AM »
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Behold!

I saw Eternity and a Day last week!

What a superb film is that! Highly atmospheric, superb in his emotional and poetic feeling!
It's supposed to be his most intimate, introspective work. Although this film is maybe less "wide-ranged" (hmm..not sure whether this is an English word- sorry for that) than Ulysses' Gaze, also Eternity and a Day has this intellectual rigour. Actually, the film works on more dimensions. You can be stunned by the intellectual, poetic gaze of the film, but in the most direct sense you will get absolutely blown away by his emotional, melancholic power.

I think that Eternity and a Day is a somewhat better film than Ulysses' Gaze- it's more compact, coherent. Ulysses' Gaze is about a LOT of things, and it doesn't directly get clear to you. Ulysses' Gaze has I believe, the more superb cinematography (really Tarkovsky-like sometimes: remember Nostalghia, or Offret!).
Eternity and a Day has, I think, the better story and a greater acting-by Ganz.

These two films are highly recommended!

It saddens me that I can't watch any Angelopoulos' film in the near future. My "cultvideostore"  only had these two works- but I desperately have to see Landscape in the Mist, or Voyage to Cythera or The Travelling Players...!

Ah well, maybe next year I will be able to take a glimpse on his newest film. His newest film(trilogy!) (and his last) is set for 2004...!
Seraphim's magic words:
Dutch
Dead Can Dance/ Cocteau Twins
Literature
European/ Art Cinema:
Tarkovsky, Bresson, Fellini, Angelopoulos

SoNowThen

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Re: Theo(doros) Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2006, 06:31:37 AM »
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Saw Ulysses' Gaze recently in the cinema, was quite blown away. I wanted to know if anyone's seen the R1 dvd, and if there's any reason not to buy it (incorrect aspect ratio, out of sync sound)?
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When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

 

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