Landscape in the Mist

Landscape in the Mist ★★★★★

Whistle stop #19, Greece, on:

Lise & jonnie Around the World 2016

I’m not a religious man, but I think it was divine providence that my wife and I chose the Greek Master Theo Angelopoulos’s Landscape in the Mist for our viewing this Good Friday. Possibly influenced by the day; I saw Voula and Alexandros metaphorical journey to be one of a quest for God, beginning with the ‘fable’ of creation, with the Christ story interleaved on the way.

Although I’ve only seen a single Angelopoulos before this, the brilliant Eternity and a Day, seeing this one transported me back to the pale blue cast and a camera that is lovingly moving even when you think it is still. Angelopoulos and cinematographer Giorgos Arvanitis are a match made in heaven. You can tell that from the first scene where Voula is re-telling the fable to her young brother quietly in the dark when suddenly footsteps are heard and door cracks open sending a stark ray of light into the room touching the things of childhood left scattered on the floor that this is a visual masterpiece. You can tell from the line of dialogue: “The fable will never be finished because Mother keeps interrupting”, that this is a master storyteller at work.

Angelopoulos doesn’t present us with scenes; the often single shot moments are more akin to a collection of parables; things not to be taken literally, and not necessarily connected, but rather things to be contemplated, and the nuance of their juxtaposition considered. This is reinforced by the fact that he is unafraid to linger after the action has departed. One visual allusion that I just loved was when Orestis shows Alexandros a strip of 35mm film. As you gaze at it, you see nothing but haze, but Orestis compels Alexandros to examine it carefully, to look for a tree. When Alexandros complains that he can’t see it, Orestis retorts that ‘I was just kidding’. To me, this symbolized the power of film in delivering a message not easily deciphered, just like the film we are watching.

I can't help but think of Orestis as this.

With only two of his films under my filmgoing belt now, I am confident in confirming that Theodoros Angelopoulos is one of the most important filmmakers who ever lived.

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