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THE BEE KEEPER

Greece / France / Italy, 1986 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Theo Angelopoulos

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 broken, disappointed man. Almost entirely absent, too, are the intricate, lengthy shot: composed by the director and his brilliant cinematographer Giorgos Arvanitis. There are certainly plenty of long takes in the film, but the camera mostly stays still, observing the characters with a calmness and serenity that add to the quiet, mournful mood. The screenplay is extremely spare, and the viewer has to pay careful attention throughout the lengthy running time because this is a film in which what's said is not as important as whats left unsaid.

Marcello Mastroianni is Spyros, a middle-aged man whose stooped shoulders and dejected look reflect a lifetime of disappointments, his passion, as the title suggests, is bee-keeping...

Mastroianni is in every scene of the film, and submits himself entirely to Angelopoulos' vision. The actor gives a beautiful performance, clearly indicating the despair and loneliness of the character not through dialogue but through looks and body language.

The images of Arvanitis are quite beautiful, and the film is technically first-rate in every department.

David Stratton, Variety

See also...

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

Greece, 1980
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 »

JOURNEY TO CYTHERA

Greece/Italy/UK/West Germany, 1984
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 h… More »

THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS

Greece, 1975
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 travers… More »

THE HUNTERS

Greece, 1977
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 »

RECONSTRUCTION

Greece, 1970
Angelopoulos' first feature, shot in just 27 days in the tiny village of Thalia with a crew of five and a budget of just over US$10,000. Though lacking the pictorial elegance of his sub­sequent w… More »

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