A group of traveling players peregrinates through Greece attempting to perform the popular erotic drama Golfo The Shepherdess. In a first level the film focuses on the historical events between 1939 and 1952 as they are experienced by the traveling players and as they affect the villages which they visit: The last year of Metaxas' fascist dictatorship, the war against the Italians, the Nazi occupation, the liberation, the civil war between left and right wingers, the British and American interventionism in the Greek politics. In a second level the characters live their own drama of jealousy and betrayal, with its roots in the ancient myth of the House of Atreus. Agamemnon, a Greek refugee from Minor Asia, goes to war against the Italians in 1940, joins the resistance against the Germans, and is executed by them after being betrayed by Clytemnestra and Aegisthos. Aegisthos, Clytemnestra's lover, is an informer and collaborator working with the German occupiers. Orestes, son of ...Written by
for cinéastes who find Tarkovsky too action-packed
Sixteen years of civil war and social unrest follow a small band of itinerant actors, who offstage are a reluctant audience to the much larger drama of current events. Director Theodoros Angelopoulos is virtually unknown in this country, and it might be a simple question of stamina: this four-hour long Greek tragedy is certainly impressive, but it's also a motion picture deprived of its requisite motion. Angelopoulos favors long takes with extended tracking shots, and seems to be stubbornly opposed to any idea of creative editing. The technique sometimes works, for example when a scene shifts years forward in time within a single, sustained shot, or when the director places what little action there is behind a static camera, focused instead on a neutral image, perhaps a brick wall or a beach at low tide (imagine the masterpiece he could have made by leaving the lens cap on as well). The effect can be hypnotic, but anyone who thinks filmgoing was meant to be an invigorating experience will likely find it a monument to tedium.
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