“Come on man, get up, what’s keeping you?” i was thinking, as the tension mounted, and the camera peered intermittently round some dancers . What an electric erotic use of space!
It’s very interesting that you bring that scene up. The Suspended Step of the Stork is filled with many such scenes. I was taken aback at this one, it looks back upon some of Theo’s most powerful images.
My favorite scene (also it’s hard to call it that) occurs at about 5:10 in this clip.
The protagonist acknowledges death but passes him by, oblivious to the plight of foreigners. It’s clearly meant to illustrate a point and it hits home. Theo questions borders and implicitly foreshadows the future at the very end.
still can’t agree that Angelopoulos peaked in the 90’s. I felt that he was still good but kind of treading water at this point. However, Suspended is an exception and is very good, and deserves more credit. I agree with Kenji that it deals with the usual concerns, but in this film there is far more emphasis on the concept of borders than ever before. It’s the beginning of what is now referred to as the ‘border trilogy’. and i think he sums up the problems that were facing Greece and most of Europe at that particular time well, in addition to the general problem we face as humans in attempting to transcend our own borders—physical, emotional, psychological, political etc—in the hope of transcending our limitations and prejudices and connecting with the ‘other’.
I agree with Ben that he ‘foreshadows the future’ with that final shot, but in the sense that we are still at the crossroads. There is hope with the communications revolution and gradual withering of national borders, but the old prejudices largely remain. The wedding scene is arguably one of his best, in both its staging and presentation, as well as its general integration within the broader narrative. Compare it to say, the one in Eternity and A Day, and the latter just seems pointless by comparison. Whenever anyone praises the wedding scene in Eternity i always assume off the bat they haven’t seen his other films. and usually i’m right too.
The only thing i didn’t find convincing were the ‘love sequences’. I found the scene where the two characters met to be ridiculously protracted, and i think the journalist lacks screen presence, and there are moments here and there that just feel like affectation to me(a common problem of Theo’s that didn’t really emerge until the 90’s). so yeah, i can’t give it 5 stars. I think Voyage To Cythera was a better film overall in terms as far as his more overtly ‘political’ and ‘topical’ films are concerned, but Suspended Step is very worthy.
What i find most interesting in Angelopoulos nowadays, not just in terms of his films but his interviews and general view of the world, is the tension between the somewhat romanticised view of the ‘old Greece’ that he had right up until the late 90’s, and his belief that borders are a huge impediment in human affairs. Perhaps the border trilogy was his way of working his way through these tensions and conflicts, who knows, but i’m not sure he ever fully resolved them.
Interestingly enough, i read an opinion online recently that said people like Angelopoulos, with their ‘leftist mentality’ , are part of the problem in modern Greece and have contributed greatly to the breakdown of the culture itself. hehe
Yeah, borders are clearly the main theme here- so you’ve got a river which may be a natural sort of separation, but set one foot over a line and you’re an enemy to be shot. And with all the hatred towards immigrants that grew in many countries in the last 2 decades even as there was mass migration within Europe, especially involving new member states from the Balkans, the film is very pertinent. Actually i find it hard to choose which i like best of Suspended Step, Travelling Players, Landscape in the Mist, Cythera, The Bee-Keeper; i guess as Suspended Step was the one i’d just seen i was gushing. Actually i agree that the journalist lacks presence, so in fact it’s some sort of surprise when he becomes the focus of the young woman’s gaze, a gaze that had me thinking of one of my favourite paintings, Ginevra de Benci, and then i was led to think of Michelangelo’s God reaching across to Adam in the next scene. And the scene with Mastroianni and Moreau may feel like an anti-climax, for the result as well as the distancing. There are riveting passages but a few weaker ones too.
As for blaming leftists like Angelopoulos- and i really appreciate his concern for refugees, strays, immigrants (that becomes for me so moving in Eternity and a Day)- here we are now with Greece having fallen (with encouragement) for the trap of the worst market forces’ greed leading to disaster, and then being forced to swallow the rightwing medicine of cuts cuts cuts, based on vindictive anti-public sector ideology not economic sense. And when, predictably, the debt has worsened as chances of growth were ruined, then the cry has gone up again and again, for more and more cuts! While the rich sit pretty, raking in the dosh. No wonder the struggling countries have not been able to pull themselves out of the morass. And where is the European kinship, solidarity? Given Greece’s astounding cultural history, it’s all the more shocking. In the 30s Roosevelt had the New Deal, in the 40s Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour govt had a greater debt than now, but created the welfare state and the NHS, did a programme of nationalisation, rebuilt devastated cities, had full employment etc. People calling the shots and able to control the media propaganda are mainly on the Right, that’s how life works with the power structures, so somehow the whole credit crunch mess is now the fault of the Left?? It was the shame of New Labour that they became Tories, Blair despising socialism and swallowing the free market ideology, as did some other European govts that should have known better and paid the price.
So the journalist’s immersion in the Moreau-Mastroianni story and then falling for the young woman, set alongside the suffering of large groups, a sense of cold alienation between countries, might also be linked to today’s lack of positive action based on solidarity for others, whether fellow Europeans or fellow humans. Renoir’s view of artificial boundaries separating people who have much in common comes to mind. But so many now have been conditioned by decades of selfish greed and Maggie’s “no such thing as society”. It is not that Southern European countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal are lazy that caused the crash, but that they fell into the bull market ideology of greed; the crash started in the US and banks collapsed in the UK too, but people now like to blame Greece and the Euro for what is a banking and financial sector scandal and problem, a failure of free market capitalism.
Angelopoulos’ films are far from the sunny Med touristy image, his winter now seems suited to the economic and social climate. It’s a tragedy that Greece has been pushed further away from a way of life that is a refreshing antidote to the heads down capitalist work ethic. Angelopoulos already felt the failure of idealism, but what a shocking situation for him to find his country in!.
It’s understandable to think of Angelopoulos treading water- the same might be said of Ozu-, but all the repetitions and similarities now feel to me like old friends and a source of concentrating on the little differences in plot, style, main focus, colour schemes. I like the way Angelopoulos mixes up various camera effects in Suspended Step; each long take is certainly not the same.
It’s also dispiriting that in the age of the internet, communication with people from across the world, boundary-hopping indeed, there is so much petty nationalism, xenophobia and scapegoating of foreigners and immigrants. Until the mainstream media’s brainwashing is overturned, that will persist. Angelopoulos’ concerns are still of major importance.
Joks, your point about the journalist protagonist’s lack of screen presence links in with the lack of emotional connection i shave with some of the lead characters in Angelopoulos’s films- something of a drawback, for all the beauty. Here it’s lack of charisma, in a few others they may be la little withdrawn or lugubrious, ciphers or symbols for a wider message. Yet i take to Ganz in Eternity and a Day though again he’s not the most outgoing type, and the time spent with Mastroianni in The Bee-Keeper, reserved as he is for much of the film, is quite engaging.
“It’s understandable to think of Angelopoulos treading water- the same might be said of Ozu-, but all the repetitions and similarities now feel to me like old friends and a source of concentrating on the little differences in plot, style, main focus, colour schemes. I like the way Angelopoulos mixes up various camera effects in Suspended Step; each long take is certainly not the same”
agree, i like all his films but i think around the mid 90’s diminishing returns set in. Having said that, the only film i’d rate less than 3.5 to 4 stars would be Dust Of Time in the last 17 years.
“It’s also dispiriting that in the age of the internet, communication with people from across the world, boundary-hopping indeed, there is so much petty nationalism, xenophobia and scapegoating of foreigners and immigrants.”
Yes, and that’s precisely what i meant by ‘communications revolution’, and the ‘old prejudices remaining’, because they do. So yes, Suspended is very relevant in that sense, and that’s what i thought when i first watched it 2-3 years ago. It’s a film with much to say about the present.
“Joks, your point about the journalist protagonist’s lack of screen presence links in with the lack of emotional connection i shave with some of the lead characters in Angelopoulos’s films- something of a drawback, for all the beauty. Here it’s lack of charisma, in a few others they may be la little withdrawn or lugubrious, ciphers or symbols for a wider message. Yet i take to Ganz in Eternity and a Day though again he’s not the most outgoing type, and the time spent with Mastroianni in The Bee-Keeper, reserved as he is for much of the film, is quite engaging.”
I really wish Mastro was alive to make Eternity and a Day. Shame he had to pass before it was made. not to discredit Ganz, but i think Mastroianni was perfect for that role.
Ok, here is what i just got sent from amazon. this is why the first Angelopoulos boxset was pulled:
The Theo Angelopoulos Collection Vol 1 – 5 Discs [DVD]
It’s been brought to our attention that two of the discs in the set – “The
Reconstruction” and “Days of 36”, have a technical fault which means that
they won’t play past the disc menu.
To obtain replacements for these two discs, please send your Amazon.co.uk order number,
together with your name and address to the e-mail address below:"
I noticed that about Reconstruction actually. had to access film from chapter list.
So you all got the same mail too?
I got the same email.
Just a question for those who may have the info needed. The complete print of The Hunters that is online is complete and was screened on Greek Television. From what I understand a sex scene is obscured. Does Greek television do this? Has Greece censored nudity on television at any point? If this is the case the film may not exist in it’s complete form at all, and the most complete version is a rip made from the VHS that was made from the showing on Greek television!
Can anyone confirm this information about Greek television?
Dust of Time didn’t work for me :( It wasn’t that Angelopoulos was treading water, but that the wide-ranging approach didn’t come off, rather as Wenders’ ambitious Until the End of the World came as something of a disappointment to me over 20 years ago. It was an interesting way to deal with memories, changes in both the Capitalist world and the West, along with personal connections and reunions across time and space, but failed to grip emotionally and felt like it lacked clarity.
I think that’s the general consensus about Dust of Time Kenji, unfortunately Theo won’t be able to recover from it.
^^That’s the general consensus of the people that have seen it, but few people have actually seen it. The A.E dvd will change that of course, but when i posted stuff about that film about 1-2 years ago, only 2-3 people claimed to have seen it.
I agree with Kenji but i think it was also too familiar as well. and the sequence shots were nowhere near as impressive as usual, which didn’t help. Dafoe looked uncertain in the role to me, and Jacob and Ganz have seen better days.
I’m giving it another look soon.
The Hunters is a great film, certainly up there in the greatest of Angelopoulos’ films. It also happens to have some of Theo’s most immaculately composed shots, some of which are quite awe-striking. I interpreted the film as being a representation of the political rights guilt in Greece, something everyone here should be familiar with. There’s a shot of some nationalists sing pro-fascism song comparing themselves the “the brave Leonidas and his three hundred.” It’s a chilling shot, seeing as we now know of the atrocities committed under the regime of the Colonel’s.
For those interested the scenes that are missing on the Artificial Eye disc can be found on Youtube. Judging from what I saw on Youtube, it’s entirely possible that the footage that was missing is truly damaged. Furthermore, investigation has revealed that the sources of the online rips are from Japanese laser discs. This not only explains the pixelated nudity in the online copies of O Megalexandros but The Hunters as well. It’s entirely possible that the laser discs were mastered from censored prints in Japan and that they no longer exist and we only have a damaged negative of The Hunters. To put it bluntly, The Hunters may not exist in a psychical format uncut and what we have today is the best we’ll ever get.
Oh, and I got my replacement discs today in the mail. The discs come in a thin plastic protector case.
There’s a glowing tribute in Sight & Sound by Michael Atkinson.
“an entire nation’s sole serious claim to cinematic posterity”. i wonder how well he knows Greek cinema- i can think of at least one person who would challenge that.
“Time and titanic scale were his weapons”
of Travelling Players: “quite possibly the most complexly conceived political film ever made”
of Landscape in the Mist: “this epiphany was for many not only the greatest European film of the 1980s but also a redefinition of the art film as an ordeal by sympathy, monolithic visions and effortless metaphoric torque. From the giant statue’s hand rising from the sea to the catatonic huddle on a snow-shrouded highway, any single scene could change your life, or at least what you expect from cinema. A single, lengthy shot of a parked truck, while catastrophically upsetting, might also be the sharpest critique of viewer omnipotence ever created. If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember it forever”
Censored version of “The Hunters” ?
Could someone explain me why some scenes have been cut in both Artificial Eye and French “Editions potemkine” DVD of “The Hunters”. I do not have the Artificial Eye version but I found this morning 7 “missing scenes” posted by savagecinema1 on Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW1pveLcwNk Those scenes are also lacking on the French version by Editions Potemkine. Both MUBI and IMDB give a length of 168 minutes, but Editions Potemkine gives 144 minutes ! Did Angelopoulos make a second version ? And if so, why ? In the interview on the French DVD he speaks of a film of 3 hours and says that he has supervised the colours of the dvd version but does not speak of a new “director’s cut”. This is quite strange. For example, in the scene 5, you can see the resurection of the bourgeois after the shooting in front of the lake.
Explanations are welcomed (also from Artificial Eye and Editions Potemkine.
I’m not sure why the scenes are missing but I can give you links to the missing scenes on Youtube if you wish.
Thanks Ben. The link to the missing scenes is included in my post. But the mystery of the cuts remains…
I have a working hypothesis and if you’ll indulge me I’ll share it.
The cuts to The Hunters appear to be entirely innocuous as if the intention was to trim the film from it’s original length to something say, a Western audience could bare. To the best of my knowledge the version that appears on the Artificial Eye release was restored from the original negative. Artificial Eye’s official statement regarding this issue (with word from Angelopoulos’ production company) was that the original negative was damaged and that a restoration was not possible. I believe that this is not entirely true and that the film was edited sometime after release much like The Beekeeper but not before complete prints were made from the original negative.
Let’s jump forward to Japan, were one of Angelopoulos’ greatest admirers lived. Akira Kurosawa was instrumental in achieving success for Theo in Japan and as such he has had full releases in Japan as such but with one interesting caveat, all the full-frontal nudity (sexual or not) is censored including scenes in The Hunters and O Megalexandros.
If you were seeking out prints of Theo’s film before Artificial Eyes release you know that the two prints circulating online are censored and only when genitals are exposed. I have tracked the online copy of O Megalexandros to a 1996 Laser-disc copy from Japan, which to the best of my knowledge was one of the only proper releases in the world at the time. Now I believe that at some point The Hunters was put on laser disc and was created from a positive made from the original, uncut negative, which is why it only exists in a poor quality bootleg. And now for whatever reason this footage no longer exists as the print has indeed been damaged or destroyed. To this effect the only representation of the deleted scenes exists as a bootleg from the Japanese release.
It’s just a theory, albeit one I find more and more likely seeing as I can’t possible find another at this time. I’ll keep everyone updated.
Interesting theory Ben, but i also read that the full version was released in Switzerland just a few years ago on dvd?
The problem with the cuts is that at least two of them are really significant.
I agree with Joks. ben how can you argue that “cuts appear to be enturely innocuous” ? One is about the resurection of burgesy after its execution by revolutionnary, the other about Papandreou electoral truck (and we see the defaitist character on it !). Angelopoulos was considering “The Hunters” as the more political film of the trilogy and you argue that those cuts are innocuous ? The fact that some kind of censorship exist in the Japanese version with the blessing of Akira Kurosawa is certainly not an excuse to make censirship in France and in UK. At least those sequences may have been included as “bonus” on the DVD.
Swiss DVd should be this one : http://www.trigon-film.org/fr/movies/Hunter
You have me there are two cuts that are important but I really think I was referring to a Western producers saying “Ah! We can save four minutes!”
The scene were the lights go out is quite an indicator that a cut has been made. A scene like that makes me wonder if someone edited for time.
Give me some time, Dimitris and myself are doing research for the benefit of everyone and he has access to the Greek Film Institute which is much more reliable.
has anyone received their replacement discs yet? I got them today in the mail.
Weird. I got mine maybe two weeks ago.
I’ll be getting the third set as soon as it comes out. I’ll let everyone know how it is.
“Swiss DVd should be this one : http://www.trigon-film.org/fr/movies/Hunter”
It’s been confirmed that this DVD is identical to the Artificial Eye one – or rather, that it was sourced from exactly the same master. The running time is either a typo or reproduced from the IMDB without checking against the actual disc.
>The fact that some kind of censorship exist in the Japanese version with the blessing of Akira Kurosawa is >certainly not an excuse to make censirship in France and in UK. At least those sequences may have been >included as “bonus” on the DVD.
Hunters DVD released in 2004 in Japan is 172 minutes (and not just on the box – I checked it to make sure). So cut versions aren’t coming from over here, thanks.