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Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
The Beekeeper :A good Theo Angelopoulos film about two lonely people.
It is amazing that it is only on two occasions that the great Greek director Theo Angelopoulos [1935-2012] chose to cast major film stars of international reputation in his films. In 1995, he directed "Ulysses' Gaze" with one of American cinema's greatest actors Harvey Keitel. The Beekeeper/O Melissokomos was his first film with a major star,Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni who is known to all those who appreciate great cinema. It is interesting to note that in both these films, Theo Angelopoulos has extracted unglamorous performances from these two actors who are known to ordinary cinema audiences as mere 'film stars'. The decision to cast Marcello Mastroianni must be viewed as an artistic challenge for Angelopoulos as he was already a middle aged man when he was paired against a young girl in a film about hopelessness, uselessness wherein one comes to realize the futility of one's drab existence. Through his film about a man and his passion for bees, Theo Angelopoulos teaches us that happiness is fleeting. One learns the most crucial lesson in life that even though bees are sweet for honey their bite is extremely dangerous. This is precisely the lesson which the film's protagonist experiences after a series of minor incidents which happen in his life when he travels across Greece in the company of a young girl. The notion of "So near yet so far" appears to be this film's leitmotif as even though the protagonist stands near his wife for a photo shoot, discontent is always visible on their faces. This notion makes its second appearance when the protagonist meets a young girl who is hitch hiking across Greece. Lastly, no film director has attempted to show the love felt by a young girl for an old man in an extremely personal manner as depicted by Angelopoulos in "The Beekeeper" as mutual respect is the key element in this film.One could also state that the young girl allowed herself to be treated well by the old man. This is the reason why the young girl feels that the old man is the only person who has treated her well.
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