Sunday, 2 April 2017

Theo Angelopoulos


Theodorous Angelopoulos' was a cinema of singular moments. His work is quiet, unassuming, tragic and human- not in every moment exciting but always engaging. Where Tarkovsky's films are worldly and Bergman's are human- Angelopoulos' are both; and what's more they manage to tread that fatally fine line between tragedy and comedy with a charming warmth a lot of European cinema simply fails to capture for someone native to that part of the world. 

What also fascinates me about the man's strong 13-film body of work is his distinct playfulness. A lot of people associate breaking the fourth wall with contemporary directors, for which they can be labelled anything from stylish and creative to infantile and irritating. Its been done back as far as The Great Train Robbery in 1903 and famously at the end of The 400 Blows in 1959- but who could have guessed that a frighteningly niche Greek 'art-house' director infamous for laborious long takes and even longer running-times would so consistently and ingeniously decide to shatter the fourth wall- appealing directly to his audience in a far more subtle and subdued way than modern examples seem to prove possible. Its a method that really has to be seen to be appreciated so if you do decide to dive into the man's work keep an eye out for his ever-evolving visual sense of humor. 

At the same time, Angel ranks amidst the likes of David Lynch and Luis Buñuel as one of the screen's finest surrealists. Where this artist differs from his collages, however, is that his style is so understated that many of the strange moments in his movies are able to feel almost entirely organic- truer to the original principle of the surreal than either aforementioned director. Your reading of a scene as normal or ever so slightly bizarre speaks of the effective nuance Angelopoulos is able to fill his images with and makes for a cavalcade of delightfully "surreal?" scenes.