Theo Angelopoulos: Cinema as History and History of Cinema – A Symposium

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

Theo Angelopoulos: Cinema as History and History of Cinema – A Symposium


Saturday 28th June 10am – 7.30pm Room B33, Birkbeck Main Building

This symposium is the culmination of a season of Angelopoulos’ films. Speakers will include:
Mark Betz; Costas Douzinas; Ian Christie; Maria Komninos; Laura Mulvey; Dimitris Papanikolaou and Konstantinos Tsoukalas


Cinema as history and most particularly cinema as the means to tell the history of his native Greece were always at the heart of Theo Angelopoulos’ work and over the course of his long career his films consistently responded to changes in Greek society and Greek politics.


Twentieth century Greek history, which gave Angelopoulos a central point of reference, is full of dramatic twists and turns. The communist-led resistance against the German occupation liberated most of the country by 1943. But the post-war settlement pushed the communists to a hopeless civil war. After their defeat many communists fled to the socialist countries while the victorious rightists established a vindictive and authoritarian state, which culminated in the Colonels’ dictatorship of 1967-1974. Angelopoulos chronicles in his unique style (slow, extended, camera movements and a lyrical sense of the relation between landscape and cinema) this tragic trajectory, mixing the personal and local with the grandest historical narrative. His later films foresaw and reflected on the rise of neo-liberalism and global capitalism, which has led to the current Greek crisis. The Greek tragedy becomes the canvas for Angelopoulos’s filmic poetry.


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