Theo Angelopoulos and the Cinema of Contemplation


  • Andrew Horton The Jeanne H Smith Professor of Film & Media Studies, The University of Oklahoma


Includes image: 'landscape with three figures', 1935. 

I dedicate this essay to Theo Angelopoulos' wife Phoebe Economopoulou and their daughters, Anna, Eleni and Katerina


I am honored to be here at the University of Sydney for this, the 11th Biennial Conference of the Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand. It was last Fall that I was invited to speak on the cinema of Theo Angelopoulos since I have known him and written about his films for over thirty five years. But the invitation was before this renowned Greek filmmaker died after being accidently run over by a motorcyclist on the set of his latest film The Other Sea January 24th of this year, 2012. I wish to state up front, what a hard moment this was and is, not only for the Angelopoulos family and for Greek cinema, but for those fans including myself all over the world who appreciate the kind of distinctively individually crafted cinema that Theo’s films represent. I am speaking personally also because I was actually on the set of this film with Theo during the first week of January, two weeks before his death.

I wish to begin with three quotes that I feel provide a framework for Theo, as we shall call him here, and his cinema of contemplation that I wish to discuss.