Saturday, 27 August 2011

Topio Stin Omichli - Landscape in the Mist

1988 by Theo Angelopoulos - Greek movie

The UEFA super cup between Barca and FC Porto was to start at 0015 hrs, so I really wanted the movie to finish well before. But, but but.. I had picked up an acclaimed master piece movie, a real art house production from a maestro, and there were moments when I really felt, I might have to stop the movie some where to not miss my Football show. But there were also moments when I even felt, whatever happens with Barca, I am not going to break this movie, for any football. There it is, its pace is quite slow like in most art house movies, but it is quite a bewitching cinema, cinema at its artistic best.

Two children, a very young boy and an adolescent girl, are told by their mother that their father is in Germany. They elope their home, north wards to the Greek border, to Germany to meet their father. 

This is master piece of a road movie, with two children as protagonists. We are told quite early that there is no such father, but the desire of the children to meet him takes us through a stunning journey. They travel by train, treks, bus, bike and even walking through never ending roads, coming across various things in life, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I would call it as  surrealism at its best some times, with some incredibly brilliant stunning images. Towards the first half there are some scenes and frames with brilliant juxtaposition of contrasting senses or matters, which was brilliant. And at other times, it is reality at its best. There is a terribly painful and touching scene with a trek driver, which was unbelievable. It was like somebody just killed someone very dear to you, right in front of your eyes. We feel terribly sorry for these children but we continue travelling with them.

And the Cinematography, this is classic brilliance. There are so many frames which looks like, they have been just shot as told by Ansel Adams or Cartier Bresson or such great masters of Photography. Absolutely brilliant and Classic, confirming to text book rules of photography. And there is brilliant music too.

However, as I always feel when I watch great master piece's from art house maestros, it does have all those moments or situations which you would expect only from these kind of great artistic works. At least in few scenes I was thinking, isn't this kind of pretentious, like I feel often with art house movies.

- a lack of reality in the plot when two children can travel like this day and night, with not even one character asking  them why or what or how?

- characters who doesn't want to talk at all. Except a young man, every body who is coming across this children seems to, like to keep mum and understand everything, all  are intelligent - even the very young boy seems to understand certain moments, the feelings between the young man and the older girl, which I wonder how he can at all?

- typical situations when you, I mean me, dont understand what it is, why, for what?, like the lady saying something, sitting on a bench, outside the police officers room, repeating it.

In spite of all the above , the movie is soooooo captivating, definitely speaks volumes about this movie. In spite of its slow pace, it can keep us really engaged worried and wondering about these children.

Anybody who is interested in Photography, I strongly advise, must watch this movie. Even if this movie is not your kind of movie, you need to complete watching it. And dont forget, it was shot in film, without the help of the digital screens from which you can immediately see what you just shot and improve it if needed. This comes from those good old days, when the man behind the camera needed to be intelligent enough to understand everything. Even otherways, this is a classic example of classic photography.