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Greece, 1970 (MIFF 1997, Mediterranean Masterpieces - The Films of Theo Angelopoulos)

Director: Theo Angelopoulos

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 work, many of his later themes are already evident in this account of the murder of a Greek worker by his wife and her lover. The pair falsify evidence of the husband's return to Germany, but arouse the suspicions of a sister-in-law, one of the silent, deeply judgmental women of the village, and finally break down, accusing each other of the crime. Though based on an actual event, in Angelopoulos' hands the tale takes on a marked resemblance to Aeschylus's Oresteian trilogy (a source he was to revisit five years later in The Travelling Players), as well as to Visconti's Ossesione.

Typically, we're never shown the actual mur­der, only its re enactment, under the supervision of both the investigating magistrate, and a film crew making a documentary about the incident. It's an apposite strategy, since Angelopoulos is not concerned with the act per se (hence his non-sequential structure), but with the social conditions which inspired it - particularly the oppressive environment of the village, described by British critic Dilys Powell as "the terrible enclosure of existence in a depopulated country­side...the solitude, the poverty, the ferocious temper of the climate." One memorable image here - the wife calmly planting leeks over the fresh grave of her husband - offers a concise visual summation of Angelopoulos' meditative preoccupation with the Hellenic landscape, and the crimes it conceals.

See also...


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 »


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 »


Greece/France/Italy, 1986
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 bro… More »


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 »


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 »

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