SYNOPSIS

It is clear that Theo Angelopoulos finds himself at a turning point in his work. With THE BEE KEEPER we see him moving away radically from the historical epic in order to broach a sort of epic intimacy, where the destiny of a single being constitutes the pole round which the whole film revolves.

Angelopoulos does not, however, forswear his style. The long fixed takes, the slow, liturgical traveling shots where visual miracles are wrought which are inexorably undone by movement, the winter greys and blues of the photography by Giorgos Arvanitis, are not absent from this new film(..) which tells of the tragedy of a man in the tone one tells of the tragedy of a people. And the film proceeds to the sacrificial conclusion (Spyros offers himself barefaced to his bees) in the desolation of lost beauty and in fatalistic submission to the scandalous ravages of old age, which renders everything absurd: the impulse towards everything we deem just and beautiful, the ardour of love and friendship, even filial sentiments which are no longer any use from the moment your children leave you and become strangers.

MICHEL PEREZ (Le Matin) Angelopoulos is a Mediterranean film-maker. His work bears the two essential marks of the Mediterranean which are dryness and derision. a dryness derived from abstraction, especially perceptible in the way he has of rarefying persons and objects in a space that is too big for them; derision as regards the epic elements.

Angelopoulos is also one of those rare creators who has known how to reintroduce in full the element of duration into the filmic space. In THE BEE KEEPER, once again he gives us his reflections on man's fate, on his loneliness and dignity as he becomes aware that his life has run its course. CINEMA MEDITERRANEEN 8e RENCONTRES In THE BEE KEEPER the style, though, has changed - there are fewer long takes, the cutting is quicker and the narrative more eventful. But the director's signature is ever present: wonderfully textured images by Arvanitis, a succession of beautifully sustained traveling shots and an emotional intensity which moves to a grave, ovewhelming climax. This is the kind of visual film-making of which only the greatest artists are capable and, apart from anything else, it is the best road movie since PARIS, TEXAS. Indeed, Wenders and Angelopoulos share some secrets.

JOHN GILLETT 30th London Film Festival An ample piece of work... of overwhelming restraint, of a sober scrutiny worthy of the early Antonioni. The Greece which Angelopoulos shows (and it is one of the film's strong points) is not that of the travel agencies. It rains, it snows. We see neither monuments nor picturesque ornament. It is a poor country, simple, abstract a la Wenders, where one can die without a word when hope and grace are no longer there. All this is powerful and beautiful, majestically filmed.

MICHEL BRAUDEAU (Le Monde)


 

It's a gesture of despair at the end, but at the moment when he tips over the beehives, he tries to communicate by tapping on the ground in the way that prisoners tap. Because he's a prisoner of a situation and he tries to communicate with past events.... Bee-keepers are poetic beings. They have a rapport with nature, and the gathering of honey is like an artistic activity. He communicates with feelings, and at the end he cannot continue that communication. His final despairing gesture is directed also against the bees themselves, like a sculptor would die by toppling his statue onto himself.


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