Ulysses’ Gaze

Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t regard this three-hour 1995 epic by Theo Angelopoulos as a great film, but it’s certainly something to see, especially for enthusiasts of Angelopoulos and his long-take style. This Greek-French-Italian production stars Harvey Keitel as a Greek filmmaker working in the U.S. who travels home to make a documentary about the pioneering filmmakers the Manakias brothers. Hoping to recover some of their early films about everyday life in the Balkans in a film archive in Sarajevo, he travels through Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and finally Bosnia, a trek that echoes Homer’s Odyssey. Magisterially filmed, this movie demands at almost every instant to be regarded as a masterpiece, though for me it’s too full of itself and its own virtue. Still, I can’t deny it’s an experience worth having. With Maia Morgenstern, Erland Josephson, and Thanassis Vengos. (JR)

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