Jul 2, 2014

6th July 2014; Theo Angelopaulos's THE WEEPING MEADOW

A film by Theo Angelopoulos
Greece / 2004/ 162 minutes /
6th July/ 5.45 pm / Perks Mini Theater / Coimbatore

Master Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos wrote and directed this downbeat look at his nation's often blighted history, as seen through the eyes of an unfortunate young couple. In 1919, a band of Greek refugees who had found a home in Odessa are forced to return to their homeland following the Russian Revolution, and they settle in Thessaloniki, a forbidding riverside village where few wish to dwell.

Eleni is a youngster who arrives in Thessaloniki and is taken in by Spyros (Vassilis Kolovos), one of the village leaders. While Eleni is raised as a member of the family alongside Alexis, Spyros' son, the two find themselves attracted to one another as they grow older, and they pledge to someday marry. 

By the age of 16, Eleni (Alexandra Aidini) becomes pregnant by Alexis (Nikos Poursadinis), and she gives birth to twins, which Spyros puts up for adoption. However, after the death of his wife, Spyros declares that he will make the now-grown Eleni his new spouse. Eleni and Alexis see no choice but to run away together, and they join up with a band of traveling musicians led by Nikos (Giorgos Armenis). 
Angelopoulos draws on all manner of Greek myths surrounding wandering, passion and exile in The Weeping Meadow - in interviews he has described his female protagonist as 'the Eleni of myth, the Eleni of all the myths who is pursued... but who also pursues absolute love'. Favouring his trademark lengthy travelling shots, Angelopoulos and cinematographer Andreas Sinanos conjure up a range of mesmerising images created without reliance on digital effects. 

Water is a crucial motif in The Weeping Meadow, where history itself resembles a force of nature, shattering societies and arbitrarily sweeping away the lives of human beings.

Though its story incorporates themes from myth, epic and tragedy, the plot is among the least important elements of "The Weeping Meadow." Instead, the film is a stately procession of enigmatic, starkly beautiful images that seem to gesture toward a mythological world outside the movie itself.e. The haunting score by Eleni Karaindrou (much of it performed by a group of traveling musicians that figures largely in the story) is a far more important sonic element than the sparse patches of dialogue and the long stretches of silence that separate them. 

For those willing to enter into its grave, melancholic rhythms, "The Weeping Meadow" is a beautiful and devastating meditation on war, history and loss. (Source: Internet)


Theodoros Angelopoulos (born 27 April 1935) is a celebrated Greek film director.
Angelopoulos studied law in Athens, but after his military service went to Paris to attend the Sorbonne. He soon dropped out to study film at the IDHEC (Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies) before returning to Greece. There, he worked as a journalist and film critic.
Angelopoulos began making films after the 1967 coup that began the Greek military dictatorship known as the Regime of the Colonels. He made his first short film in 1968 and in the 1970s began making a series of political feature films about modern Greece: Days of '36 (Meres Tou 36, 1972), The Travelling Players (O Thiassos, 1975) and The Hunters (I Kynighoi, 1977). He quickly established a characteristic style, marked by slow, episodic and ambiguous narrative structures and long takes (The Travelling Players, for example, consists of only 80 shots in about four hours of film). These takes often include meticulously choreographed and complicated scenes involving many actors.
Angelopoulos has made 19 films so far. His regular collaborators include the cinematographer Giorgos Arvanitis, and the composer Eleni Karaindrou. At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, during which Angelopoulos received the coveted Palme d'Or for Eternity and a Day, the filmmaker remarked, "I belong to a generation slowly coming to the end of our careers". Nevertheless, despite his seemingly resigned statement, he continued to work diligently.

Theo Angelopoulos died at the age of 76 in a road accident while shooting his latest film in Greece.

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