The Theo Angelopoulos Collection: Volume 2 DVD
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Directed by Theo Angelopoulos
Produced in 1991
Main Language - Greek with English subtitles
Countries & Regions - European Film
Contains the five films Alexander the Great (1980), Voyage to Cythera (1984), The Beekeeper (1986), Landscape in the Mist (1988) and The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991).
Concluding the 'trilogy of history' that began with Days of '36 (1972) and The Travelling Players (1975), Alexander the Great (1980) is a calculated dissection of myth that draws on the 1870 Dilessi incident - when some aristocratic British tourists were kidnapped at Marathon by a Greek bandit - to examine the national need to strip the derring-do of the past of its false glory and confront the realities of the present. Gloriously photographed by Giorgis Arvantis, this difficult drama is also a denunciation of foreign interference in Greek affairs and the cult of personality that had undermined the laudable tenets of communalism.
The failure of his peers to heed the lessons of history prompted Angelopoulos to examine situations in which experience, love and faith count for nothing and this 'trilogy of silence' contains some of his densest and most personal work, as the subtext in each is his relationship with his estranged father. In Voyage to Cythera (1984), he employs a film-within-a-film structure and casts Giulio Brogi as an alter ego film director to show how Civil War veteran Manos Katrakis returns from three decades in Uzbekistan to become an exile in his own country. And the notion of journeying through familiar terrain that no longer feels like home is further explored in The Beekeeper (1986), another Greek tragedy about the unbearable agony of change in which Marcello Mastroianni's bid to find new purpose in taking up the ancestral pursuit of apiculture clashes with the modernity of rootless hitcher Nadia Mourouzi.
This intrusion of Western ideals is also the theme of Landscape in the Mist (1988), a fairytale with nightmarish elements and moments of unexpected hope, as Tania Palaiologou and her younger brother Michalis Zeke run away from home in search of the father they believe lives in Germany. An odyssey containing more infamous than heroic deeds, this is a sobering study in despair and the failure of authority, which suggests the circularity of events by reintroducing the troupe from The Travelling Players, who are still striving in vain to stage their production of the classical tale of false ambition and betrayal, Golfo the Shepherdess.
A third trilogy opened with The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991), as the fragmentation of Europe following the collapse of the Iron Curtain prompted Angelopoulos to explore the notion of borders and belonging. Marcello Mastroianni again stars, as a reclusive small-hold farmer who bears such a striking resemblance to a disappeared politician that TV reporter Gregory Karr brings the missing man's wife (Jeanne Moreau) to help identify him. However, he succeeds only in intensifying the mystery.
David Parkinson on 9th November 2012
Author of 193 reviews
Theo Angelopoulos is Greece's most celebrated filmmaker and one of the world's great directors, his body of work examining the history of modern Greece from a social and political perspective. This second volume of his films contains Alexander the Great (1980), Voyage to Cythera (1984), The Beekeeper (1986), Landscape in the Mist (1988) and The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991).
Centring on a bandit’s kidnap of some British tourists, Alexander the Great (1980) is a dissection of myth that denounces the cult of personality and foreign interference in Greek affairs.
'Voyage to Cythera' (1984) follows the journey of an exiled Greek communist when he is allowed to return to his homeland. Spyros has been in exile in the Soviet Union for 32 years. Naturally, he is delighted when the opportunity to return home presents itself, but will the experience be all he had hoped for?
'The Beekeeper' (1986) is a melancholy drama portraying the mid-life crisis experienced by former teacher Spiros (Marcello Mastroianni). Facing an empty and uncertain future following his retirement and his daughter's wedding, Spiros sets out from the north to the south of Greece in search of a warm spring climate for his colony of bees. Along the way he meets a girl hitchhiker (Nadia Mourouzi) and an unconventional relationship develops between the two.
'Landscape in the Mist' (1988) follows the journey of two children as they head to Germany in search of their father.
The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991) explores the ideology of borders and national identity. While visiting a refugee camp on the Greek-Albanian border, television reporter Alexandre becomes convinced that an old man he meets there (Marcello Mastroianni) is an eminent Greek politician who mysteriously disappeared several years before. But when he returns to Athens to report the news to the politician's 'widow' (Jeanne Moreau), Alexandre realises that the question of identity and belonging is not as straightforward as he believed.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 9th January 2012
Cat No: ART434DVD
- 5 discs