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The Films of Theo Angelopoulos:
A Cinema of Contemplation
Andrew Horton
With a new afterword by the author

Paperback | 1999 | $31.95 | £26.95 | ISBN: 9780691010052
256 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 14 halftones
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400884421 |
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Reviews | Table of Contents

Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos is one of the most influential and widely respected filmmakers in the world today, yet his films are still largely unknown to the American public. In the first book in English to focus on Angelopoulos's unique cinematic vision, Andrew Horton provides an illuminating contextual study that attempts to demonstrate the quintessentially Greek nature of the director's work. Horton situates the director in the context of over 3,000 years of Greek culture and history. Somewhat like Andrei Tarkovsky in Russia or Antonioni in Italy, Angelopoulos has used cinema to explore the history and individual identities of his culture. With such far-reaching influences as Greek myth, ancient tragedy and epic, Byzantine iconography and ceremony, Greek and Balkan history, modern Greek pop culture including bouzouki music, shadow puppet theater, and the Greek music hall tradition, Angelopoulos emerges as an original "thinker" with the camera, and a distinctive director who is bound to make a lasting contribution to the art form.

In a series of films including The Travelling Players, Voyage to Cythera, Landscape in the Mist, The Suspended Step of the Stork, and most recently in Ulysses' Gaze starring Harvey Keitel (winner of the 1995 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix), Angelopoulos has developed a remarkable cinematic style, characterized by carefully composed scenes and an enormous number of extended long shots. In an age of ever decreasing attention spans, Angelopoulos offers a cinema of contemplation.


"Andrew Horton anatomizes a unique aesthetic sensibility, investigating the power of these images with his own impressive powers of observation and learning."--Jack Granath, Rain Taxi

"[A] thorough study of Angelopoulos. . . This is the first book on Angelopoulos in English. . . . Horton comments knowledgeably on the many directors who have influenced Angelopoulos. . .and on the artistic influences of the Greek Orthodox church and Byzantine and classical Greek culture."--Choice

"This [book] . . . could not have come at a better time or from a more qualified critic. . . . Andrew Horton opens the door to a complex body of work and will do much to correct the notion that Angelopoulos is simply an eccentric individualist or a director overly infatuated with technique."--Dan Georgakas, Film Quarterly


"Theo Angelopoulos is a masterful filmmaker. He really understands how to control the frame. There are sequences in his work--the wedding scene in The Suspended Step of the Stork; the rape scene in Landscape in the Mist; or any given scene in The Traveling Players--where the slightest movement, the slightest change in distance, sends reverberations through the film and through the viewer. The total effect is hypnotic, sweeping, and profoundly emotional. His sense of control is almost otherworldly."--Martin Scorsese

"Horton's book fills a crucial gap in film studies by bringing to attention the work of a European filmmaker whose films remain unfamiliar to many. This book is an extraordinary study of a major artist and one that should help make Angelopoulos a much better known figure in this country."--Stuart McDougal, University of Michigan

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Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Voyage beyond the Borders 3
Ch. 1 Cinema and the Borders of Greek Culture 25
Ch. 2 The Moving Pattern of Images: Greek History and Individual Perspectives 55
Ch. 3 Angelopoulos, the Continuous Image, and Cinema 73
Ch. 4 Reconstruction: "Help Me, I'm Lost" 91
Ch. 5 The Travelling Players: Figures in the Landscape of Myth and History 102
Ch. 6 Voyage to Cythera: "One ... Two ... Oh, My God. I'm Out of Step" 127
Ch. 7 Landscape in the Mist: A Documentary Fairy Tale 144
Ch. 8 The Suspended Step of the Stork: "If I Take One More Step, I Will Be Somewhere Else" 161
Ch. 9 Ulysses' Gaze: "We Are Dying People" 181
Conclusions: From the Cinematic Gaze to a Culture of Links 202
Filmography 211
Bibliography 217
Index 223

This book has been translated into:

  • Spanish

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Andrew Horton:


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