The first astonishing sequence is a metaphor for the entire film. If you 'get' it, the film is for you. if not, turn it off and go watch something else instead ;-)
Because everything you need to know about the film is contained in the first train sequence.
so close, yet so far.
a masterpiece. which is in pieces influenced heavily by antonioni, tarkovsky and erice. the young kids perform so well and it breaks my heart. on one point the comment on the futility dreams annoyed me, but the composition, score, photography and script all made me forget about that tiny flaw. some of the scenes are so brutal, yet they retain some beauty. but that party scene is so bad, its unbelievable.
This film, to me, is one of the most perfect exaplmes of life, as when your problems are of no importance to everyone around you. The best shot to illustrate this is when the children examine the dead horse, and a wedding parade comes out of the building in the background, with music playing, and poeple dancing out onto the street, while the little child starts crying in the foreground. Beautiful.
Overall I have some problems w/ the basic idea. Too folksy? A little too much like a moribund fairy tale? But it's a real feast. And impossible to deny that some of Angelopoulos's finest moments are on display here. Which means we are talking about some of the finest moments in the history of cinema. The boy is incredible. He is like an amusing tiny adult. The ending is as breathtaking as anything in Tarkovsky.
There are all the other films and then there is this film. Transcendental oneness holla! However using real animal cruelty is unnecessary, sad and artistically lazy to get your point across. It's not ok.