Landscape in the Mist is a film about the void. It is a film about despair, about the failure of contemporary society. The prodigal father who figures in almost every Angelopoulos film here has evaporated into his mythical essence – leaving his children to become the wanderers in search of him. In the «chaos», two children appear, little Alexandros and his older sister Voula. In order to exorcise their loneliness, they invent a secret universe for themselves, inhabited by their dreams. Every night they go to a train station to watch the departure of a train to Germany, where they have been deceived by their mother (herself an off-screen presence) into believing that their absent father is living. One night they finally dare to get on the train. But their voyage turns out to be hazardous and pointless and disappointing. They confront suffering, physical and moral illness, jealousy, evil and death, if also love – as many ordeals and rites as initiations. Evading the half-hearted pursuit of the police and uncaring relatives, sneak onto trains, hitchhike in vans and lorries, and suffering poverty, rape and exploitation, take a dangerous leap of faith, an eerie plunge into liberation and danger. The familiar Greek landscape – the cafes, the depopulated towns and deserted beaches – are played for a strangely harsh fairytale quality, seen through the eyes of two children whose introduction to the real world borders on the surreal. The film is filled with extraordinary, unforgettable moments that are at once real and hallucinatory and contains intriguing references to other Angelopoulos’ films. The children even encounter the Travelling Players now, thirteen years later, without a stage to act on, their costumes put up for sale. At the end Alexandros tells Voula the same story from Genesis that she told him at the start: «In the beginning there was chaos.» The children do finally reach the border, but of course there is no border with Germany and perhaps the river they cross is actually the Styx and perhaps their whole journey was a search for order in a chaotic world. –theoangelopoulos.com
Theo Angelopoulos began to study law in Athens but broke up his studies to go to the Sorbonne in Paris in order to study literature. When he had finished his studies, he wanted to attend the School of Cinema at Paris but decided instead to go back to Greece. There he worked as a journalist and critic for the newspaper “Demokratiki Allaghi” until it was banned by the military after a coup d’état. Now unemployed, he decided to make his first movie, Anaparastasi (1970). Internationally successful was his trilogy about the history of Greece from 1930 to 1970 consisting of Meres tou ’36 (1972), O thiasos (1975), and Oi kynigoi (1977). After the end of the dictatorship in Greece, Angelopoulos went to Italy, where he worked with RAI (and more money). His movies then became less political. —IMDb
This is not, in the words of Netflix, a "heartwarming adventure", but rather a mature film with heavy elements of philosophy and mysticism, deep symbolism and a lot to say about the lifelong quest we as humans go on to find knowledge, experience and ourselves. I feel like I need to see it a couple more times and debate its qualities with Dimitris before I can make a final judgment on its cinematic worth.
The poet and screenwriter worked with Antonioni, Fellini, Angelopoulos, Tarkovsky, Rosi and many others.
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