Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: To Vlemma Tou Odyssea
Greece/France/Italy/Germany/United Kingdom/Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Albania/Romania, 1995. Greek Film Center, Mega Channel, Paradis Films, La Générale d’Images, La Sept Cinéma, Canal+, Basic Cinematografica, Istituto Luce, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, Tele Munchen Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft, Concorde Filmverleih, Channel 4, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Bandur Film, Bunker Film, Igman Productions, Studioul Cinematografic Bucuresti. Screenplay by Theodoros Angelopoulos, Tonino Guerra, Petros Markaris, Giorgio Silvagni. Cinematography by Giorgos Arvanitis, Andreas Sinanos. Produced by Theodoros Angelopoulos, Eric Heumann, Herbert G. Kloiber, Amedeo Pagani, Giorgio Silvagni. Music by Eleni Karaindrou. Production Design by Dinos Katsouridis. Costume Design by Giorgos Ziakas. Film Editing by Takis Koumoundouros, Yannis Tsitsopoulos.
Theo Angelopoulos’ death-defyingly slow meditation on art and inspiration runs a dangerous three hours but has too much beauty to not be worth watching. A filmmaker (Harvey Keitel) travels to Greece to find a few reels of film footage by a pair of brothers from the 1930s that are rumoured to still be in existence. His journey takes him all around the Balkans while he learns the family history of the brothers he is researching, memories of their lives and his past blending together, his interactions with a number of women (all played by Maia Morgenstern) taking the form of Ulysses’ odyssey. Rich and memorable, but make sure you’re sitting comfortably and you have the opportunity for bathroom breaks, as Angelopoulos’ pacing makes Antonioni look like TV commercials, and the film’s least magical moments happen in the slightly overdrawn third act.
Cannes Film Festival Award: Grand Jury Prize
European Film Award: FIPRESCI Prize
Nomination: Best European Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 1995