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Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
"To vlemma tou Odyssea" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, War  |  1 November 1997 (USA)
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Reviews: 50 user | 24 critic

A, a Greek filmmaker living in exile in the United States, returns to his native Ptolemas to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films. But A's real interest ... See full summary »

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Title: Ulysses' Gaze (1995)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
S., Film Museum Curator
Ulysses' Wife
Thanasis Vengos ...
Taxi Driver
Giorgos Mihalakopoulos ...
Friend and Journalist
Costas Santas
Dora Volanaki ...
Old Woman
Mania Papadimitriou
Giorgos Konstas
Thanos Grammenos
Alekos Oudinotis
Angel Ivanof
Ljuba Tadic
Vaggelis Liodakis
Gert Llanaj


A, a Greek filmmaker living in exile in the United States, returns to his native Ptolemas to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films. But A's real interest lies elsewhere--the mythical reels of the very first film shot by the Manakia brothers, who, at the dawn of the age of cinema, tirelessly criss-crossed the Balkans and, without regard for national and ethnic strife, recorded the region's history and customs. Did these primitive, never-developed images really exist? If so, where are they? - "Why A? It's an alphabetical choice. Every filmmaker remembers the first time he looked through the viewfinder of a camera. It is a moment that is not so much the discovery of cinema--but the discovery of the world. But there comes a moment when the filmmaker begins to doubt his own capacity to see things, when he no longer knows if his gaze is right and innocent." --Theo Angelopoulos Written by Frank Wallner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | War


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Release Date:

1 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ulysses' Gaze  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$42,202 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There is a scene around the 10th minute where a woman is singing a famous mourning song in Kurdish called "Ahmade Mala Musa (Ahmad of Musa family)". It is maybe referring to Kurdish refugees in Greece. See more »


Taxi Driver: [talking to A] Know something? Greece is dying... We're dying as a people. We've come full circle. I don't know for how many thousands years, among broken stones and statues... and now we're dying. But if Greece is to die, she'd better do it quickly, because the agony lasts too long, and makes too much noise.
See more »


Follows The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliantly flawed film
25 July 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Greek filmmaker A travels back to his native country to show his most recent film after 35 years in America. However the religious groups protest and he is forced to abandon his plans. However he then decides to begin a search for the first pieces of film ever shot in Greece that remain unprocessed. His quest takes him across changing countries, bounders and war torn cities.

Personal films always run the risk of being too personal and losing the audience. Ulysses' Gaze runs that line very close and crosses it at times. The basic plot sees A travel across many borders and meeting many people. However the meaning of the film seems to be more about one man's obsession damaging the rest of his life and film as a means of recording history. This makes it a bit more difficult but the theme of obsession is well shown and it's A's quest that gripped me for the most part.

The direction is great – beautiful scenery, wonderful mesmeric tracking shots and long takes make for a great visual experience. However working in several languages takes it's toll and much of the english narration is weak and clumsy. That said he still paints some great pictures and the themes are mostly well developed. The scene where dialogue is played out in a misty screen for 4 minutes is great – while the huge Lenin statue is mesmerising.

However the english is weak and other flaws creep in. The use of the same woman to play several characters is an art movie cliché and just annoyed me as it seemed to serve no purpose. Keitel is not very good. He looks distracted at times – like the fact that he doesn't understand the language affected his ability to relate to those speaking it. His english dialogue is clumsily written but he does well for many key scenes.

Overall this didn't deserve to beat Underground as it is too long, has scenes that don't work and dialogue that is clumsy rather than poetic. However it still has masterful themes and visuals that make it worth watching despite the running time.

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