The Greece of Theo Angelopoulos

By Costas Douzinas*
originally published at the Guardian

The sudden death of Theo Angelopoulos, the greatest Greek film-maker, while shooting his latest film on the current troubles, has acquired great symbolic significance. In recent months, reporting on Greece has concentrated on the deficit, debt and the untrustworthiness of its people. The films of Angelopoulos remind us of another Greece and a different humanity. In his dreamlike historical films, he chronicled the melancholic nature of a nation torn between an invented tradition of classical glories and a traumatic history of repressive state policies, dictatorship, corrupt and dynastic politics. He narrated the lowly lives of the defeated in the vicious civil war 1946-9, the degradations and melancholy of exile, the Odysseus-like return of people who go back to a place they nurtured in their memories but turns out alien and unwelcoming. Continue reading