Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Suspended Step of the Stork [1991]

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, two of the biggest icons of European cinema, famously played a married couple in the Antonioni masterwork La Notte. It was a delight to see them coming together again, in the first chapter in Angelopoulos’ ‘Trilogy of Borders’. In the former she was experiencing deep existential crisis and the two were drifting apart emotionally. Here, the roles are reversed with the husband, once a rising Greek statesman and a respected writer, having left everything behind while at the height of his popularity. Alexandre (Gregory Karr), a journalist, while in a military outpost in the Greek-Turkish border in order to make a documentary on illegal immigration, inadvertently stumbles upon an destitute Albanian refugee (Mastroianni) who bears a striking resemblance to the missing politician. He leaves his current project and dives headlong into making a docu on the enigmatic man in order to determine what compelled him into making this inexplicable transition. He enlists the participation of his former French wife who, despite having moved on, still experiences a profound sense of loss because of his sudden disappearance. Theo wonderfully tackled the subjects of identify and rootlessness, which he did in quite a few films of his including The Beekeeper which too had Mastroianni in it, as well as the utter meaninglessness of a world divided by man-made borders and exclusionary politics, and the consequent plight of the homeless and the displaced. The film’s contemplative, mournful tone were nicely accompanied by the arresting, washed out photography, fine score, great acting and a series of beautifully realized vignettes including the enactment of a heart-rending wedding across the Evros River.

Director: Theo Angelopoulos
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Political Drama
Language: Greek
Country: Greece

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