A Greek-American filmmaker returns to his home town in northern Greece for a screening of his latest controversial film. His real reason for coming back, however, is to track down three long-missing reels of film by Greece’s pioneering Manakis brothers.
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Angelopoulos creates memorable and sometimes even meditative images for the odyssee of a filmmaker through several Balkan countries suffering from war (of course with many references to Homer's "Odyssee") in search for historical and cultural memories.
"The first thing God created was the journey, then came doubt, and nostalgia."
A tale of wandering revolving around the symbiotic relationships which people of various nationalities develop in order to escape the tough social and political realities.
Una historia muy triste, pero hermosa a la vez. Es, como en la Odisea, un viaje rumbo al hogar, de manera mas introspectiva, pero con un objetivo que parece que lo vale, pero que al final no deja de ser una vanidad del hombre. Gran actuación de Harvey Keitel. Es un viaje de descubrimiento, una narrativa fuera de lo convencional, pero muy efectiva, Un gran monologo final, es una conclusión excelente.
Pure poetry. It has probably one of the best openings I have ever seen. But it is very long. Sometimes I think it asks a little too much of the audience, but nonetheless it has the ability to take your breath away.
Lenin scene was stolen from Dušan Makavejev's "Gorilla Bathes at Noon". And the very first movie made in the Balkans was not Manakis brothers' film from 1905, but "Crowning of King Peter Karadjordjevic" from 1904 filmed by two Englishmen in Serbia.
Angelopoulos and Keitel's "A" are both fascinated not so much with cinema itself as with the gaze of history and of memory, the endless procession of dispossessed people -each procession representing pain needing to be remembered. Angelopoulos' film set is a device ready-built with the need to fill it with people, movement and duration, even if it also sometimes succumbs to the dangerous siren-song of perfection.
Essentially this is Angelopoulos exacerbated. It includes some extraordinary long takes, some stunning imagery and is quite complex with its story. The dialogue is however obnoxious, and Harvey's emotions seem so sporadic (he tends to fall in love with women instantly ???) that it's easy to see why some critics loathed it. Still, as a whole, the film is something to digest. I watched it in one sitting.