Skip to main content


Greece / Italy / UK / West Germany, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Theo Angelopoulos

The latest film from the great maverick of Greek cinema is both an affirmation of his tremendous talent and a marked development in his career. Still passionately concerned with the socio-political history of his native country, his style still wedded to measured and complex long takes, his structure here is nevertheless simpler in form. The latter part of the film, in particular, is imbued with a humanistic warmth barely hinted at in his earlier work.

The title of the film is metaphoric; Cythera itself - a large island south of the mainland, populated mainly with elderly people who have returned from abroad to live on their pensions - is never glimpsed. The story is filmed in Athens and various rain-soaked mountain locations around Piraeus.

An old Russian Civil War fighter returns to Greece from years of Russian exile, and steadfastly refuses to come to terms with his past or present With his family he returns to a mountain village where he has property claims and promptly finds himself ostracised, and the target of assault, when he refuses to join the other villagers and sell his land to developers. The land is crucial in the plans to turn the area into a ski resort, and without it the other villagers cannot effect a sale of their own properties. As the old man's behaviour causes increasing embarrassment to developers and community alike it draws the attention of the authorities When he is unable to prove his Greek citizenship they move to deport him.

The film has a dense visual texture (John Gillet in The Economist found its camerawork possibly the most impressive at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, "a festival of great cameramen") and the finale, however “unrealistic", has the essential qualities of a fable and many have found it painfully moving.

See also...


After more than three decades' exile in the Soviet Union, a declaration of political amnesty means that Spyros, an elderly Commu­nist rebel, can at last return to his homeland. Yet in doing so ... More »


A response, both to the 1995 centenary of cin­ema, and to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Angelopoulos' most recent film (which earned him the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes) describes the ... More »


Running for four hours, The Travelling Players traces the history of Greece from 1936 to 1952. The film begins and ends during an election campaign in 1952. A small group of strolling players ... More »


The new film by Angelopoulos is not so much a sequel to The Travelling Players, as a similar formal dramatization of the years 1949 to 1976 in Greece. ... On New Year's Eve, 1976, a hunting party in ... More »


Theo Angelopoulos' new film comes to us laden with international awards and honors. Its first screening at the 1980 Venice Festival threw almost the entire remaining offerings into sharp relief. Its ... More »


The political themes that have dominated the films of Theo Angelopoulos thus far are shunted aside in The Bee Keeper, a haunting, demanding impressive picture about the last days in the life of a ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director