Trilogy I - The Weeping Meadow (PG)
Time Out saysThis, the characteristically epic first instalment of Greek maestro Theo Angelopoulos’s projected trilogy about the twentieth century and its legacy, centres on the experiences of Eleni (Alexandra Aidini) from 1919 – when she’s adopted as an orphan in Odessa by a family of Greeks fleeing the Red Army and returning to the Thessaloniki area – to 1949 and the Greek Civil War. In charting how Eleni’s relationship with Alexis (Nikos Poursanidis) is darkened by the influence of his father Spyros (Vasilis Kolovos), and in chronicling the couple’s dealings with a band of travelling musicians, Angelopoulos again draws on Greek myth (most notably the stories of Oedipus and the Seven against Thebes) to shed light on the shifting currents of history.
He tells of passion and pain, transgression and vengeance, exile and loss, oppression and resistance, loyalty and betrayal. Some of the dialogue in the early scenes is a little clumsily expository, and there are a couple of narrative ellipses so audaciously subtle they may produce a few seconds of minor confusion. But for the most part this is gloriously uncompromising in its devotion to a notion of cinema as poetry. Adopting a more linear approach to time’s passing than usual, Angelopoulos nevertheless works his customary magic with long, elegant, eloquent sequence-shots of the grey, misty Greek landscape; as befits a tale of elemental emotions, earth, sky and especially water are to the fore, with Eleni Kairandrou’s typically lovely score enhancing the impression of time’s fluidity. We rarely get to see films of such ambition, expertise and vision; treat yourself to something truly different, and go with the flow.