GKM 4600 Chapter Notes -Poetic Realism, Clytemnestra, Theo Angelopoulos

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Published on 31 Jan 2013
The duality of Angelopoulos's vision-- "both 'documents'… and fictionalizes, alluding to and building on the Greek past" (bottom p. 5)
"History and myth cross in complicated and provocative ways" (p. 6)
"This particular tension between the image and its suggestive power, a realistic base and an effort of that which is beyond r ealism, can perhaps be most usefully described as a
poetic realism. Such a term can help us account for the unusual style and content of Angelopoulos's uncompromising approach that continuall y, for instance, mixes echoes of
history and myth, the individual and the group, the past and the present." (top p. 6)
Angelopoulos's films represent a different Greece than other Greek films-- do not contain "straightforward strong drama, comedy, and tragedy" like in Zorba the Greek (1962)
nor "bright blue cinematography and romantic stereotyping"
"Image is not a 'picture' but a 'likeness,' a matter of spiritual similarity" (p. 7)
"His films evoke powerful and essential cinematic questions beginning with, 'What is an image?' And what does an image mean or suggest?" (p. 6)
"His poetic medium is time. This allows the viewer to make his own images from what is projected on the screen-- yes, it almost forces him to-- while he
remains critically aware of the technical means employed: the long shots, sequence shots, slow pans, and long takes. They are scenes from a voyage through
the world. Their complex structure sends the viewer on his own inner journey." (p. 8)
"Like a poet, selecting his images carefully, but letting the image speak for itself" (p. 7)
"He does not 'explain' or preach" (pp. 6-7)
"Angelopoulos's respect for and fascination with the single frame has meant that he has developed a form of cinematic narration dependent on long,
uninterrupted takes, often involving extended tracking shots." (p. 7)
Characteristic techniques: long shots, sequence shots, slow pans, long takes
Focuses on simple close-ups
Extended long-shots
Dialogue-centered narratives
Very little speech
90 minutes on average
2-3 hours on average
600-2000 shots
One-tenth as many
"Action" based
Gives us enough information to
know what is going on by film's
Leaves information out, letting us
complete it in our own minds (like
a poet)
Angelopoulos vs. typical American film: less than one tenth as many shots, 2-3 hours in length compared to 90 minutes
His films are largely silent, thus "we have extended moments when we must concentrate on the image completely." (p. 8)
Strong musical score "to respond to in concert with the image before us" (p. 8)
Two levels to Angelopoulos's "Preoccupation with the 'continuous image'" (p. 8)
"Angelopoulos helps to 'reinvent' cinema with each film because of his concern for cinema as an aesthetic as well as a cultura l medium." (p. 6)
What is history?
What does it mean to be Greek?
Questions Angelopoulos's cinema leads us to question:
"While factual events are suggested-- the German Occupation of Greece in The Travelling Players, for instance-- Angelopoulos's use and (re)presentation of such
events avoid any simple or traditional depiction of history." (p. 9)
"Angelopoulos has throughout his career been completely fascinated with history." (p. 9)
"The 'players,' for example, in The Travelling Players bear the names of figures in the Oresteia cycle, including Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes, and Electra." (p. 9)
"Angelopoulos has a deep fascination with Greek myth and culture and the echoes of Greece's past: classical, Byzantine, and beyond." (p. 9)
"The deliberate effort to fly in the face of traditional cinematic form and narrative forces the spectator into the role of coauthor and covoyager as he or she must
meditate on the images and events that unfold on the screen." (p. 9)
"We can also describe Angelopoulos's films as a cinema of meditation." (p. 9)
Image-centered, rather than centered on dialogue or plot
"Angelopoulos has his own conception of 'character'" (p. 10)
"Angelopoulos has consciously turned his back on the city and culture he grew up in" (p. 11)
Angelopoulos says: "The village is a complete world in miniature. The old Greek villages had a spirit, a life, full of work and play and festivity… We need to return to
those places to find much of what is still important, authentic to our lives" (p. 12)
"In terms of location, Angelopoulos is purposely on an odyssey to explore his characters and narratives through the lens of ru ral Greece, especially the territories of Epirus
(near Albania), Macedonia (near the former Yugoslavia), and Thrace (bordering both Turkey and Bulgaria). " (p. 11)
Represents the "other Greece" (p. 13)
"While Angelopoulos points to no simple truths, messages, or solutions, his cinema does suggest a desire to transcend." (p. 12)
"Beyond Greece itself, Angelopoulos stands apart as a director and 'contemporary citizen' deeply concerned with the past and p resent of the Balkans as geographical,
cultural, and spiritual territories." (p. 13)
"We feel the fictive in reality and the reality of fiction simultaneously in Angelopoulos's work" (p. 14)
"The mixing of theatricality and reality in his films often leads us into a deeper, fuller emotional bond with the film-- one that, we could say, embraces our thinking
mind as well." (pp. 14-15)
"Angelopoulos plays with the notion of "reconstruction" to force us to consider the fictive boundaries of any presentation ." (p. 14)
"We can point to the Faulknerian interconnections among themes, characters, locations that run through his works." (p. 15)
Twelve characteristics of Angelopoulos's work:
The Films of Theo Angelopoulos
Sunday, January 6, 2013
12:25 AM
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