Theodoros Angelopoulos left us a year ago; Greece is now even poorer and world Cinema, as well. His poetic images depicting nature in his home country are unprecedented; I honestly hope someone else will emerge to show Greek landscapes as stunning as he did. Till then, the gap between visual narration that is insinuating instead of revealing and the post-modern parables with an emphasis to urbanism, which is the strength of contemporary Greek filmmakers, will remain vast.
Many of his films worth mentioning, but between my favorites is Beekeeper (1986); they called it a minor film among the others in his oeuvre, but I don't want to understand why; I cannot agree with being judgemental towards art in such an unfair way, neither comparative; there are no winners or losers art-wise, the only thing there is are sentiments and sensibilities.
Right now I want to reminisced Beekeeper (O Melissokomos or Ο Μελισσοκόμος or L'apiculteur, as you prefer) not for the theme of reconciliation with the past, neither the family tension that lurks behind its darker corners, no. I only want to bring in mind the painfully lyrical and at times full of angst music of Karaindrou, the irony of an old Jon-Juan like Marcello Mastroianni playing the disrespected father figure, the two girls that love him and defy him -his daughter and the innocent hitch-hiker-, and passion. The feeling that one is ready to be consumed by a certain idea -an abstract or a very palpable one, a person for instance; the feeling that is does not care for rules, for his prior inhibitions, fearful character, law, society restrictions, anything at all, as long as he gets hold of what he's yearning for.
What if he doesn't? A tired fifty-something alienated from his family goes on a mission around Greece. He wants to visit all the bee-hives he has set and collect their honey -how hilariously symbolic. His life is in ruins of sorts; his head is exploding, full of sad recollections of the past and there's no way out. No obvious way to inner peace. That kind of inner peace that Carver is talking about in his moving story Beginners -"Sometimes you can hear the snow falling. If you're quiet and your mind is clear and you're at peace with yourself and all things, you can lay in the dark and hear it snow."- is nowhere around for our old man; then comes a girl just in front of his wheel; he gives her a ride. He refuses most of the rest, just for the sake of it. He's not used to let other trespass into his arid land of a soul.
The girl comes and goes; she's fresh, she's sad and happy at the same time; she has no past, but she's looking for a future; you can be your future, but things like that don't even cross your mind. The man likes the girl that is half his age. The girl likes that robust man, the archetypic father figure; no-one else showed her kindness before, she says. Clichés are melting out of their usual shape, like Dali's watches. Things are not working. It happened to you, I'm sure it did. You have your chance, then you blow it; only to regret afterwards. He regrets so badly, that he drives right through the glass window of a countryside cafe where she's spending her time in the company of somebody that is not him.
Yes. What then?
Yes. What then?
* The post is adorned with a still from one of my favourite scenes of the film. Self-explicable, I guess.