The UCLA Film & Television Archive and the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture, with the collaboration of the UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies, present Landscapes of Time: The Films of Theo Angelopoulos from October 14 through December 18 2022.
This major retrospective of the celebrated Greek screenwriter/director’s career includes screenings of all of his feature films and a selection of his shorts. Internationally recognized as one of the most important auteurs of his generation, Angelopoulos addressed issues that are still relevant today; his films dealt with historical and existential themes, conveyed in his distinctive, highly idiosyncratic style.
The series will be launched on October 14 with opening remarks by the Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles, the honorable Ioannis Stamatekos. The Archive and its partners will also be announcing additional, related events and special guests over the course of the series.
Willem Dafoe in The Dust of Time (2008)
“Over a nearly five-decade career, Theo Angelopoulos explored the intersections of history and memory, time and place, through a powerful, personal vision that has had a profound impact on generations of audiences and artists, alike,” said Paul Malcolm, senior public programmer of the Archive, a division of UCLA Library. “With the essential support of our campus and community partners, we’re thrilled to present this rare opportunity to experience the work of a true giant of international auteur cinema on the big screen.”
“It is an honor for the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center to co-present the work of a Greek director whose work made a lasting impact on filmmaking on an international scale. His intensely political, highly intellectual, and visually stunning works inspire the viewer to think, reflect, and dream,” said Sharon E. J. Gerstel, director of the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture. “The themes he explored in his films, particularly immigration and displacement, are as relevant today as they were when the films were first made. No one can leave an Angelopoulos film and not be touched by the power of his vision.”
Speaking to Greek News Agenda, the Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles, Ioannis Stamatekos, said: “We’re delighted and honored to be involved in this 2-month tribute to Theo Angelopoulos, an internationally acclaimed Greek filmmaker who ranks among the most important European auteurs. His multi-awarded films present masterfully historical, political and existential allegories, drawing inspiration from ancient Greek myths and Greek landscapes. Angelopoulos’ works feature the dramaturgy, symbolic nature and immense diversity of the Greek landscape”.
Still from Landscape in the Mist (1988)
Screenings: The films of Theo Angelopoulos
Screenings are held at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum. All UCLA Film & Television Archive programs are free through June 2023, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor. This program is being presented under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles and in collaboration with community partner the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.
● Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Landscape in the Mist (Topio stin Omichli, Greece/France/Italy, 1988)
A young girl and her brother run away to find the father they’ve never met in Germany. Ducking train conductors and hitching rides, they’re befriended by Orestes, a young man working with a troupe of traveling actors before his compulsory military service. Theo Angelopoulos conceived the children’s journey as a modern fairytale, albeit one marked by darkness as much as wonder.
● Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Eternity and a Day (Mia Aioniotita kai mia Mera, France/Italy/Greece/Germany 1998)
Bruno Ganz plays a famed Greek author who has grown despondent following the death of his wife and his own recent terminal diagnosis. Lost in reveries of the past, he’s snapped back to life when he helps an Albanian refugee boy escape a police roundup in Angelopoulos’ profound meditation on the boundaries that divide us.
Still from Eternity and a Day (1998)
● Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Days of ’36 (Meres tou ’36, Greece, 1972)
A political assassination kicks off Theo Angelopoulos’ portrait of a Greek dictatorship made under the shadow of another. This opening act of violence triggers a series of more ambiguous but equally ominous machinations –a prison escape, a hostage crisis, foreign powers conspiring over cocktails– with Angelopoulos emphasizing the atmosphere and anxiety of political repression over specific historical events.
● Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Voyage to Cythera (Taxidi sta Kithira, Greece, 1984)
After years living in exile in the Soviet Union, a communist resistance fighter, Spyros (Manos Katrakis), returns home to the dismay of his family and neighbors. With his sudden, defiant presence, Spyros threatens to disrupt their efforts to excise the past through art or commerce in Angelopoulos’ reworking of the myth of Odysseus’ return.
● Oct. 30, 7 p.m.
The Suspended Step of the Stork (To Meteoro Vima tou Pelargou, Greece, 1991)
When a TV journalist believes he’s found a missing Greek politician living in a refugee camp, a routine story becomes a potential blockbuster. A world-weary Marcello Mastroianni plays the mysterious refugee and Jeanne Moreau plays the politician’s embittered wife in Angelopoulos’ sharp assault on the moral and political failures of the West that led to the international refugee crisis.
The Beekeeper (O Melissokomos, Greece, 1986)
Every year, Spyros (Marcello Mastroianni) transports a colony of bees across the rugged northern Greek countryside. This season, however, he’s joined by a young woman (Nadia Mourouzi) who picks up hitchhiking. Mastroianni delivers a quiet performance that draws us deep into the film’s existential crisis as a generation consumed by history confronts another in the process of forgetting it.
Marcello Mastroianni in The Beekeeper (1986)
● Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Alexander the Great (O Megalexandros, Greece, 1980)
Theo Angelopoulos insisted this was his “most simple film” for its linear structure, beginning at New Year’s Eve 1900 and proceeding from there. The film’s straightforward chronology belies the complex interplay of Greek Orthodox and Byzantine liturgy, music and ritual that Angelopoulos weaves into this newly urgent fable of a would-be liberator who devolves into despotism.
● Nov. 6, 7 p.m.
The Hunters (I Kynighi, Greece, 1977)
When a hunting party finds the body of a communist partisan perfectly preserved in the snow, they carry it back to their lakeside lodge to open a formal inquest. These representatives of the conservative elite—politicians, military officers, businessmen, media figures—who have gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve 1977, are suddenly confronted by the horrors that put them in power.
● Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
The Weeping Meadow (To Livadi pou Dakryzei, Greece, 2004)
Intended as the first installment in a trilogy on Greek history, The Weeping Meadow spans the decades leading up to the Greek Civil War in 1949, following the lives of Eleni and her adoptive brother and lover Alexis. Taken in by Alexis’ family, Eleni and Alexis fall in love and flee his oppressive father with the help of traveling musicians touring the country as it descends into war.
Still from The Weeping Meadow (2004)
● Nov. 20, 7 p.m.
The Dust of Time (I skoni tou hronou, Greece/Italy/Germany/Russia, 2008)
Following a filmmaker named A (Willem Dafoe) on a journey to make a film about his parents, The Dust of Time moves between past and present, memory and history, fiction and reality, spanning the second half of the 20th century as A traces his parents’ émigré story from Russia to the U.S., Canada and then Germany. The second film in a planned trilogy that began with The Weeping Meadow, it is Angelopoulos’ final completed feature.
● Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Broadcast (Ekpompi, Greece, 1968)
In the manner of Jean Rouch’s documentary Chronicle of a Summer (1961), the producers of a pop music TV show hit the streets to ask women what makes the ideal man.
Athens, Return to the Acropolis (Athina, epistrofi stin Akropoli, Greece, 1983)
Commissioned as an episode for a television series on the cultural capitals of Europe, Theo Angelopoulos structured Athens, Return to the Acropolis as a personal journey through the city where he was born and raised.
Reconstruction (Anaparastassi, Greece, 1970)
After years working abroad in Germany, a husband returns to his rural village only to be murdered by his wife and her lover; police and media come to the town to investigate. In one of his most iconic and critically acclaimed films, Theo Angelopoulos uses a true crime story as a pretext to explore the devastating impact of economic change on an entire region.
Still from Reconstruction (1970)
● Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Ulysses’ Gaze (To Vlemma tou Odissea, Greece, 1995)
Theo Angelopoulos once confessed, “I would like to believe the world will be saved by cinema.” Ulysses’ Gaze is a manifestation of this hope, as it follows a Greek filmmaker known as A (Harvey Keitel) who hunts for lost reels of films shot by the Manaki Brothers, real-life film pioneers who made the first movies in the Balkans, as the region is engulfed by war.
● Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
The Travelling Players (O Thiasos, Greece, 1975)
This powerful vision of postwar Greek history as experienced by a troupe of actors on tour from the year 1939 through 1952 announced Theo Angelopoulos as a major international auteur. The multigenerational ensemble drags itself from one train station and theater to the next, seemingly inured to the sweep of politics and war, until they each, inevitably, become enmeshed with the turmoil of their times.
For details, updates, registration information and important health guidelines, please visit cinema.ucla.edu.
Still from The Travelling Players (1975)
About the UCLA Film & Television Archive
A division of UCLA Library, the Archive is internationally renowned for rescuing, preserving and showcasing moving image media and is dedicated to ensuring that the visual achievements of our time are available for information, education and enjoyment. The Archive has over 450,000 film and television holdings conserved in a state-of-the-art facility at the Packard Humanities Institute Stoa in Santa Clarita, CA, that is designed to hold materials ranging from nitrate film to digital video at all preservation standards. Many of the Archive’s projects are screened at prestigious film events around the globe.
The Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum is the home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s public programs. The theater is among a handful of venues nationwide able to exhibit an entire century’s worth of moving images in their original formats. From the earliest silent films requiring variable speed projection all the way up to cutting-edge digital cinema, the Wilder can accommodate an array of screen technologies.
Intro image: Still from Ulysses’ Gaze (1995)
Read more via Greek News Agenda: Film of the Month: “Reconstruction” the first film of the Last Modernist ; From Theo Angelopoulos’ “Reconstruction” to “The Noose”; Reading Greece | Sharon Gerstel: “Byzantine History opened my eyes to a culture that has long been marginalized in our studies”; Learn from the Greeks: Successful Greeks share their inspiring stories in the time of the pandemic