Θόδωρος Αγγελόπουλος

Angelopoulos {b. Athens, Greece 1935-04-27, d. Athens, 2012-01-24) was a Greek film director and screenwriter, ; full name Theodoros Angelopoulos. He studied Law in Athens before deciding that he was more interested in the arts and enrolled as a literature student at the Sorbonne. He soon turned to cinema, studied at IDHEC in Paris and apprenticed under Jean Rouch. Before making his own films, he worked as a film critic for an Athens newspaper.

His early work displays a strong political tone, which is unsurprising given that it was produced during the rule of the Greek junta. Days of '36 is a direct reference to the earlier dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas which took power in 1936. Later on, his work moved into the realm of the personal and dreamlike although it retained an element of detached social commentary. Originally one of the Paris school of the 1960s, his personal style soon turned his artistic career into a solitary journey.

While he may be compared with Andrzej Wajda or Michelangelo Antonioni and generally catalogued among other French, Italian and Eastern European modernist directors who emerged during the same period, Angelopoulos maintains an aloofness and creative endurance rare in the film world. His work is remarkably consistent and he prefers to work with a particular set of artists. His most productive partnerships were with Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra, Eleni Karaindrou who wrote music for five of his films and the late Marcello Mastroianni, some of whose finest work was under Angelopoulos' direction.

As a director, Angelopoulos had a reputation of being a perfectionist and difficult to work with. His public persona also inclined toward confrontation. Critical acclaim was not enough for him. He demanded recognition and attacked criticism in a mild-mannered but very firm way. Despite having won most awards a director could win in a career, he remained driven and ambitious to the end

Angelopoulos' films portray the unknown Greece in a dispassionate, documentary way. It's not the tourist paradise of the islands in summer or the bucolic dream of the past. It's the same wintry greyness and desolation that could just as well be industrial Ohio or the Ruhr on a rainy day. The same greyness that envelopes man in a soulless, smileless society. His creeping, interminal takes in films like The Travelling Players depict not just loneliness or decay but the slow progress of life itself when it's not being punctuated by turning points.

Theo Angelopoulos was killed in a traffic accident while working on a new film about the consequences of the Greek fiscal crisis. The film, The Other Sea, was meant to close a trilogy.

Filmography:

Recommended viewing: The Beekeeper, Voyage to Kythira.

Sources: Many. Information culled from numerous sources, opinions and critiques personal.

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