Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Landscape in the Mist

Theodoros Angelopoulos, Greece, 1988 (8.5*)
This is one of those masterpieces that are unforgettable, yet are hard to recommend. This is basically a road movie: two little Greek kids are told by their mom that their dad lives in Germany, so they decide that they need to find him, and hit the road alone. The story begins with them boarding a train without tickets. What follows is a coming of age tale that brutally welcomes them to the real word: walking in bad weather, hunger (food costs money), rude officials with 'better things to do', and both help and abuse from strangers.

This is not a pleasant story, but is a cinematic masterwork filled with some unforgettable images that one will never forget. It's been called Angelopoulos' masterpiece, but it's fairly certain that it is also Greece's cinema masterpiece. Winner of 8 international film awards (but 6 came from Venice alone), and a little slow by modern standards, but still a rewarding parable of the individual's growing alienation in a cold, uncaring soceity.

#319 on our Top Ranked 1000 Films on the net compendium, and the top-ranked film from Greece, followed by another of Angelopoulos, The Traveling Players at #418


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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