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The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991)

To meteoro vima tou pelargou (original title)
A reporter stuck in a border town with an overcrowding of refugees sees a man he believes to be a long lost politician.
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Mastroianni ... Missing Politician
Jeanne Moreau ... The Woman
Gregory Patrick Karr ... Alexandre the Reporter (as Gregory Karr)
Ilias Logothetis ... Colonel
Dora Hrisikou ... The Girl
Vasilis Bouyiouklakis ... Production Manager
Dimitris Poulikakos ... Chief Photographer
Gerasimos Skiadaressis ... Waiter
Tasos Apostolou ... Perchman
Akis Sakellariou ... Sound Operator
Athinodoros Prousalis ... Hotel-keeper
Mihalis Giannatos ... Shopkeeper
Christoforos Nezer ... Parliament's President
Yilmaz Hassan Yilmaz Hassan ... Hanged Man
Benjamin Ritter Benjamin Ritter ... Sound Operator


Alexandre, a TV reporter, is working for a few days in a border town, where a lot of refugees from Albania, Turkey and Kurdistan are packed in. Among them, he notices an old man and thinks he is an important Greek politician who disappeared mysteriously a few years ago. Back in Athens, he asks this politician's former wife to come and identify him. A slow and dry meditation about inhumanity of borders. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Did You Know?


Theodoros Angelopoulos and Marcello Mastroianni were excommunicated by nationalist Florina's metropolitan bishop . See more »


[first lines]
Alexandre the Reporter: Travelling on an assignment to the frontier, I kept thinking about the incident at the Pireas. Bodies of Asian refugess in the sea, after Greek authorities refused to grant them political asylum. Their determination to jump to their deaths, from a Greek ship, in the open seas after they had been diiscovered, while crossing the Pacific... How does one leave? Why? Where to? Is it like in that old poem? "And don't forget that the time to leave has come. The wind will carry your eyes ...
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Followed by Ulysses' Gaze (1995) See more »


Silent Night
Written by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
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User Reviews

Not my favorite Angelopolous, but grew on 2nd viewing
7 June 2014 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

On first viewing, this was not an Angelopoulos film I loved. Of course it looks great, that's a given. But the first time around, the seeming central story line seemed almost tacked on. A journalist is tracking Marcello Mastroianni, who may or may not be a famous politician and philosophic author who simply vanished one day, to a refugee zone on the edge of the Greek border, where he lives in squalor with the others there. The problem, for me, was that the Mastroianni mystery was far less powerful and interesting then the stories of those around him, who aren't refugees by choice, but in order just to survive. So, for me, it felt we were focused on the wrong plot, or certainly the more intellectual, less moving one.

Also, the dubbing of Mastroianni is pretty awful, to the point of being distracting. Oddly, that's something I didn't find in the earlier "The Beekeeper" (in fact, it was so good in that film, I thought perhaps Mastroianni spoke Greek, and was able to do his own lines).

But on second viewing I realized the film is really a chance for Angelopoulos to ask important and pointed questions about the nature of borders; national, emotional, racial, from ourselves, between men and woman. The 'main plot' is just the skeleton to hang the meat of the film on.

There are, memorable and lovely scenes here. An amazing tracking shot as the camera goes by box car after box car housing refugees from different places, deliberately and chillingly recalling the trains of German WWII, as if to ask, have we really left that past behind? The wordless slow seduction of the journalist in a restaurant is odd, and amazingly tense, as the two people simply look at each other in fairly wide shot for the longest time, the tiniest shifts in body language and facial expression telling the kind of story that is usually filled with bantered pointless dialogue. And the film's opening and closing images are particularly powerful.

Seeing it again, knowing up front the film wasn't really about the mystery it sets up, didn't solve all my problems with it, but certainly made it a much stronger experience the 2nd time around.

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France | Greece | Switzerland | Italy


Kurdish | Persian | Turkish | French | English | Greek

Release Date:

4 December 1991 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le pas suspendu de la cigogne See more »

Filming Locations:

Florina, Macedonia, Greece

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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