Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow

Director: Theo Angelopoulos

Greece-France- Italy-Germany| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. dts digital stereo. 170 min.

The first of three films in which Theo Angelopoulos plans to relate the past century of Greek history, Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow is a perfect embodiment of this master director’s distinct vision. His twelfth feature film is a poetic, expansive panorama that juxtaposes historical events with intimate stories of exile, dislocation and idealism. The film begins in 1919 as a contingent of Greek refugees fleeing the Red Army arrives near Thessaloniki. One family, headed by the imposing Spyros (Vasilis Kolovos), has brought Eleni (Alexandra Aidini), an orphaned young girl, with them. Years later, she elopes with Spyros’s son (Nikos Poursanidis), initiating a series of events that evoke classical Greek tragedy. After a brief period of happiness, Eleni’s husband emigrates to the United States in search of a better life for the family, leaving his young bride alone to cope with the passage of time, the dangers of World War II and the betrayals of the Greek Civil War. Angelopoulos teams with the gifted cinematographer Andreas Sinanos to transport us to austere landscapes that seem carved in stone, submerging us in a world where the present intertwines with both the recent and mythic past. Stunning images—silhouetted skeletons of houses, mirrorstill lake surfaces and improbable villages in the wilderness— are exquisite harbingers for the viewer just discovering the director’s style and welcome signatures for those who have followed his career over the decades.

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