An exiled filmmaker finally returns to his home country where former mysteries and afflictions of his early life come back to haunt him once more.

Director:

Theodoros Angelopoulos (as Thodoros Angelopoulos)

Writers:

Theodoros Angelopoulos (screenplay) (as Thodoros Angelopoulos), Kaii Tsitseli (dialogue translation) | 3 more credits »
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12 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harvey Keitel ... A
Erland Josephson ... Library Curator
Maia Morgenstern ... Kali
Thanasis Vengos ... Taxi Driver
Giorgos Mihalakopoulos ... Nikos
Dora Volanaki ... Old Woman
Mania Papadimitriou ... Mother
Giorgos Konstas ... Father
Thanos Grammenos ... Manakias' Assistant
Alekos Oudinotis ... Greek Film Library Manager
Angel Ivanov Angel Ivanov ... Bulgarian Interrogator (as Angel Ivanof)
Ljuba Tadic
Vaggelis Liodakis
Gert Llanaj Gert Llanaj ... Little Boy
Agni Vlahou
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Storyline

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 <wallnerf@informatik.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First and, as of 2020, the only Greek film to win the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »

Quotes

A: I didn't expect to see you suddenly, I guess... For a moment, I thought I was dreaming of you... Like I did all these past years... Do you remember the railway station?... You were shivering in the rain, like now... The wind was blowing hard... I was going away, but I meant to come back soon... And then I got lost, wandering along strange routes... If I could stretch out my hands, I would touch you... And time will be held again... But something is holding me back... I wish I could tell you I'd...
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Connections

References I Was a Spy (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Paei o palios o hronos
New Year's Folk Song
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User Reviews

 
Pure poetry
28 October 2006 | by a_ruibalSee all my reviews

One of the most beautiful, poetic films ever made. The opening scenes are pure, unbeatable art. Rather than the unwinding of the complex narrative itself, it is the visual power of the images that Angelopoulos offers us that make this work so disturbing and beautiful. You have to watch the film as a series of paintings, poems, installations and performances rather than a conventional movie. The acting is superb, especially Harvey Keitel's performance, one of the best that this great actor has ever delivered. Especially memorable is the scene in which an old woman is taken for a ride to her hometown in Macedonia by Keitel. The woman left Macedonia before the advent of Communism and is now returning to her country for the first time in decades. Since her absence, her place has been transformed in a nightmarish communist city, filled with gray, impersonal, concrete buildings. We see the woman helpless and bewildered in an environment that she no longer recognizes, while Keitel goes away. A powerful metaphor of the fast and tremendous transformations suffered by the Balkans during the 20th century.

This is above all a lesson in history. A poignant monument to the memory and fate of Europe.


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Details

Release Date:

1 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ulysses' Gaze See more »

Filming Locations:

Korce, Albania See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$42,202
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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