Sunday 17 February 2013

Reconstruction (Anaparastasi) [1970]

Though Reconstruction might not rank amongst Angelopoulos’ greatest works, it was, nonetheless, a very good feature debut for him. Further, this, along with his next feature Days of ’36, provided for a smooth progression into the kind of aesthetics and themes his films are generally associated with, particularly on account of the increasing political commentaries. Shot in stark and high contrast black-and-whites, and coupled with sparse dialogues, minimal flourish, bleak visuals and austere tone, the film appeared, on hindsight, highly reminiscent of Bela Tarr’s works. Based on an actual event, the story concerns the murder of a Greek man, who had just returned home in his sparsely populated village from Germany where he had emigrated to seek work, by his philandering wife (Toula Stathopoulou) and her lover (Yiannis Totsikas) who works as a gamekeeper. The boldly employed fractured narrative which kept shifting back and forth temporally, show the attempts of the police to reconstruct the crime and determine the exact degree of culpability of the two, and events before and after the crime. But the exact moment of murder is never shown, thus making the film an interesting analysis on the nature of truth. Theo, however, didn’t just limit the scope to the crime; rather, he used that as the springboard for meditation on the slow disintegration of life and depopulation in the tiny and impoverished Greek village, and in turn an allegorical and telling commentary on the political turbulence and erosion suffered by the country during the course of 20th century. In that sense, therefore, the film might even be considered as a precursor to Haneke’s desolate and allegorical masterpiece TheWhite Ribbon.

Director: Theo Angelopoulos
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama
Language: Greek
Country: Greece

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