This is the first film of Theo Angelopoulos' trilogy. The story starts in 1919 with some greek refugees from Odessa arriving somewhere near Thessaloniki. Among these people are two small ... See full summary »
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This is the first film of Theo Angelopoulos' trilogy. The story starts in 1919 with some greek refugees from Odessa arriving somewhere near Thessaloniki. Among these people are two small kids, Alexis and Eleni. Eleni is an orphan and she is also taken care by Alexis' family. The refugees build a small village somewhere near a river and we watch as the kids grow up and fall in love. But difficult times of dictatorship and war are coming... Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
THE WEEPING MEADOW ('Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei') is writer/director Theodoros Angelopoulos (with influences from Tonino Guerra plus assistance from Petros Markaris and Giorgio Silvagni) creating a personal vision of the 20th century. The incredibly gifted Greek poet of a filmmaker mirrored the life and death of his own mother whose time on earth spanned a century and elected to capture the 100 years of sadness in a trilogy of films: The Weeping Meadow is Part I and details the years 1919 through 1949. It is a masterwork.
The film opens with what will be the trademark look of the movie - vistas of lonely people in a nearly monochromatic color space that uses water, both from rain and the collected results of rain. A group of refugees from Odessa have landed by a river in Thessaloniki where they must attempt to reconstruct their lives. Among them is a family - a wife and husband with their young son and a three-year-old orphan Eleni they have protected. The entire movie seems to be in slow motion, but that is just the studied, unhurried rhythm of Angelopoulos' direction. As time passes we find that Eleni at a very early age has just given birth to twin boys while she has been sent away for the family's appearances: the father is the young son of the family. The story progresses through the World Wars, the civil wars, the influence of Hitler and Mussolini, the natural disasters of floods and disease, the social disparities of class, the rise of unions, the fall of democracy
all mirrored in the family that is trying to make the chaos of living
in Greece resemble some sort of order. The young man is a musician and once he and Eleni have reunited with their twin boys, he decides he will go to America, the land of Promise for poverty stricken refugees, to work and make enough money to bring Eleni and the twins to America. But in his absence the progressive civil unrest and poverty the three endure in his absence results in the ultimate dissolution of the family.
The story is less important than the moods evoked. The cinematography by Andreas Sinanos is a long gallery of miraculously composed, beautiful images: the cortège on the river, the flapping white sheets behind which we discover musicians, the constant vistas of the ocean and the river, the village and the battlegrounds burn themselves onto our visual fields and into memory. The gorgeous music that accompanies this symphonic work is by Eleni Karaindrou, mixing folksongs with wondrous symphonic moments. The cast is superb: they manage to create very specific people despite the fact that we rarely see them up close. But in the end this visual treasure is the extraordinary work of Theodoros Angelopoulos. If this is Part I of a Trilogy (at almost three hours running time), we can only imagine the power that will follow in the Parts II and III. Experiencing THE WEEPING MEADOW takes patience and a long uninterrupted period of time; the rewards are immeasurably fine. In Greek with English subtitles. Grady Harp
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