1998 Film by Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, which tells the story of Alexandre (played by Bruno Ganz), a famous greek poet, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, on his final day before he enters the hospital. His story becomes entwined with that of a young Albanian refugee, after rescuing him in an astonishing scene that reeks of moral ambiguity.
If nothing else, 'Eternity and a Day' is a fine example of virtuoso filmmaking technique. There are many set-pieces in the film, characterised by long camera pans, and extensive use of the camera dolly. Visual elements (including cliff faces and oceans) converge and coalesce around the main characters as we follow them through the day.
Despite the title, 'Eternity and a Day' actually clocks in at a relatively modest 2 hours and 10 minutes. Despite this, the glacial camerawork, and the story's slow rhythms make it feel much longer.
Not having overt expertise in cinema, I'm unable to offer any opinions of great value. Nevertheless, 'Eternity and a Day' appears to be highly regarded by cineastes the world over, as is Angelopoulos, hailed by some as one of our finest living filmmakers. It skillfully addresses issues of time, and regret, and is uniquely cinematic (not merely filmed theatre) in a way that very few films are. It's also interesting to note that the film is set in modern downtown Athens, eschewing any reference to it's obvious heritage from classical antiquity, choosing to opt instead for a faceless urban environment. For me, this made the message of the film even more universal than it already was.
The soundtrack, written by longtime collaborator Elani Karaindrou is available on ECM Records.
Eternity and a Day was awarded the Palme D'Or at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival by a jury chaired by Martin Scorcese.