Reviews

VOYAGE TO CYTHERA is a magisterial success, constituting a break from and a continuation of all that has preceded it. It is a break from the great political frescoes, the collective dramas unfolding against a background of political turmoil, the allegories which perturb time and space, all the spectacular and ideological ritual which characterized THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS, THE HUNTERS and MEGALEXANDROS and made them ambitious and supreme works of art involving filmic time and visual magic. VOYAGE TO CYTHERA is more modest, more limited in scope, more intimate: it is centred on the drama of a solitary man and keeps to a simple and clear dramatic line. Continuation: here Angelopoulos remains faithful to his vocation of involved film- maker, always intent on bearing witness to his country's history and the political events which have marked it. MARCEL MARTIN With his irreplaceable style, always remarkably true to himself, Theo Angelopoulos adds a new and superb chapter to this meditation on the history of Greece and Greece's role in history which is what his work is all about. BARTHELEMY AMENGUAL (Positif) One of the most beautiful films of the past few years filmed by the great Greek director... The film is about doubt and crisis; more than ever, Angelopoulos seems to tell us, I have sought to understand before trying to convince, to be sincere before being moving... VOYAGE TO CYTHERA knows how to mingle emotion with scepticism, how to be human without forgetting that man's condition is absurd and idiotic. It is reassuring that at a time when kitsch and melodrama prevail everywhere, among the demagogues of a cinema-for-all as well as among the highbrow aesthetes, a great film-maker continues to conceive his films as an inner dialogue.

PETR KRAL (Positif)


 

Cythera, in Greek mythology, is the isle of dreams where one can dedicate oneself to happiness (or the pursuit thereof). In this quest within a quest, the tale of the father's return is told as if from the point of view of his son Telemachus and as if Telemachus were a filmmaker, as well as a middle-aged man with a son of his own. A film director, tired of the illusions and fictions of his profession, searches for a story of substance by attaching himself to an old man, a recently returned political exile. The man, away in the Soviet Union for 32 years and now stateless, finds himself at the beginning of a journey, not the end, and Angelopoulos evokes the past, present and future to bridge the gap between reality and the imagination. VOYAGE TO CYTHERA is about an old man - the country's leftist past - who cannot become reconciled to his country's present or perhaps it is Greece that is not ready to come to grips with its past. In the end the old man is set adrift on a raft headed away from Greece into international waters, with no home to steer toward, joined by his wife a latter-day Penelope who, despite the fact that this man is more a stranger than a husband to her after so many years, chooses to share the rest of her life with him and in doing so accepts all of his past, his sorrow, his politics and his failed dreams. It is a journey to the dark side of Greek history where it crosses paths with myth.


 

Doubtless we live in a period of silence in history. And we try to find a response in ourselves because it's difficult to live in this silence. When there is no historical movement, it's normal to be tempted to look around oneself, during this groove cut into the continuity of history. For my generation who have lived through that continuity, there is a sadness, a disenchantment, which one cannot but express. In VOYAGE TO CYTHERA the voyage is really a reworking of the myth of the Return of Odysseus according to a myth which preceded Homer. Similar to Dante's version, there is a pre-Homeric version that Odysseus set sail again after reaching Ithaca. So the film becomes more a leaving than a homecoming. I have a soft spot for the ancient writings. There really is nothing new. We are all just revising and reconsidering ideas that the ancients first treated.


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