I had to wait a while to write this piece. For mainly two reasons. First, Angelopoulos occupied a very dear spot in my humble life: he changed my personal perception of the art form we call cinema single-handedly. Second, he will always be a reminiscent of incredible memories; my travels in Greece, to places I saw and he shot poetry about. His poetry didn’t only include his scenes, it was rather a combination of pictures, music and script. He showed us what movies should be all about.
It is rather tough to accept the demise of such an important figure in one’s life.
Not many people understood or even liked Angelopoulos movies. Although he stole the hearts of regular movie goers with flicks like the “Dust of Time” (Η σκόνη του χρόνου) or “Ulysses’ Gaze” (Το βλέμμα του Οδυσσέα), I would rather remember him with his poetic works such as “Weeping Meadow” (Το Λιβάδι που δακρύζει) or “A Day and Eternity” (Μια αιωνιότητα και µια µέρα). Try watching these movies without any soundtrack or subtitles and you’ll understand why.
But even those who never watched his movies were aware of his monumental anachronisms. See this:
I wrote earlier that I’ll remember him as the guy who wanted to bribe the nature with a biscuit. He indeed did so. He used, created and recreated environments that will inspire cinematographers for ages to come. In “Weeping Meadow” the river engulfing the village and the scenes on the surrounding swamplands counteract with the solitude of the immigrants from a metropolitan city perfectly. Hence the contrast in Salonica scenes.
Angelopoulos dubbed as the “turtle” was in fact always on the move in his movies. He told stories of journeys in search of hope. His trips were constant. Maybe began somewhere, but never ended. His protagonists were real people for he was a great creator of life; but not as it stood in our idealized imagination, rather as it passed on our scorched and destitute earth. He turned Greece into a huge studio and presented the landscape as it stood in the past or present day with its grandeur and paradoxes.
His collaboration with Eleni Karaindrou was a marriage made in heaven. Karaindrou’s minimalist, rich and forceful music complemented to Angelopoulos movies as much as his own script-writing did. A jubilant composer in her own right Eleni Karaindrou presented an ever-enriching background to the impeccable action (or the lack of it) on silver screen. Her collaboration shows her insight into Angelopoulos’ movie making that reaches for the deepest spots of human psyche and creates a poetry made up of all the darkness and despair to be found there.
But now the day is gone, eternity awaits Theodoros Angelopoulos.