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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?


Film debut of Dora Hrisikou. 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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Referenced in Yperoha plasmata: Sta gipeda i Ellada anastenazei (2007) See more »


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

A Soul in Suspended Animation
14 January 2004 | by dwingroveSee all my reviews

Having only ever seen one Angelopoulos film before - The Travelling Players, which thrilled me about as much as paint drying on a wall - I was unprepared for the revelation that is The Suspended Step of the Stork. Shot over a decade ago, this long metaphysical tale of desperate refugees and disenchanted politicians has become more contemporary with each intervening year. As if a lone Greek film-maker had somehow prophesied the horrors of Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq - and the creeping paralysis that has overtaken Western democracy.

It begins in a refugee camp on the Greek-Albanian border, where a TV journalist spots an elderly man (Marcello Mastroianni) and decides he is a leading politician who went missing years before. Tracing the man's 'widow' (Jeanne Moreau) the reporter gropes his way towards the film's central dilemma. What could make a progressive intellectual lose all faith in humanity, to the extent that he gives up not only his political career but also his very identity?

This sounds like dry stuff indeed, and so it might be without the alchemical power of Angelopoulous's camera. There are sequences here that beg for inclusion in an anthology of all-time cinema greats. The tracking-shot along a disused train, each carriage inhabited by a penniless refugee family. The wedding across the river, with bride and groom stranded on opposite sides by the arbitrary idiocy of national borders, which veers perilously close to kitsch but never succumbs.

Moreau is magnificent, Mastroianni his genial hangdog self, but neither actor could ever mistake this film for a star vehicle. If there is a star here, it's the soul of humanity itself. A soul neither living nor dead, but held in suspended animation.

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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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