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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...

THE HUNTERS

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 »

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

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 »

VOYAGE TO CYTHERA

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 »

LANDSCAPE IN THE MIST

Two children, a girl and boy, wander the high­ways of northern Greece, searching for the father who has abandoned them, trying to reach a Greco-Germanic border that doesn't even exist. The viewer ... More »

RECONSTRUCTION

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 ... More »

ULYSSES' GAZE

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 »

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