A It brings the audience to a voyage

A
film that Greek war drama, Theo Angelepoulous’ Ulysses’
Gaze (To
Vlemma tou Odyssea ),

(1995)
is about both material and spiritual destruction after the World War
II. Angelospouslos is
one of the most popular succesful director of the Greek cinema. The
film has important stars such as Erland
Josephson as
Ivo Levy Maia Morgenstern as woman in A’s home town (Penelope), Kali
(Calypso), widow (Circe), Naomi (Nausicaa), and Harvey
Keitel
as
A.
It is perfectly complemented
by a somber, brooding musical score by
Eleni Karaindrou.
As Ivo Levy (
Erland
Josephson)
says
” The first thing God created was the journey ” it is based on a
story of a journey of the star Harvey Keitel who is a Greek movie
director named “A,” that returns to his roots 35 years after
leaving for America, across the Balkan, Skopje,
Albania, Koritsa, Plovdiv, Constanza, Belgrade and Sarajevo,
for the sake of

find three undeveloped reels shot by the Manakis brothers, two early
20th century Greek filmmakers who captured crucial, historical
changes within the Balkans through cinema. The title of the film
refers to Greek epic Odysses, seeing A as a modern Homer and audince
will ‘gaze’ to this long and difficult journey. Thence; Ulysses’
Gaze is great visual and poetic dimension, colligating myth with
history and perfect reflection of the Balkans in the 20th century. It
brings the audience to a voyage that back and forth through the
time.
Thanks to Angelopoulos’ affective use of a long take style,
historical events and their consequences, emotional depression are
reflected in a slowly and an excellent way. Though,
at the first glance, it is sensed it is just a journey
of A throught the Balkans, it is intangible journey of the Balkans,
reflecting
the conditions of that
countries
after the Word War II, its consequences and how people fall into
desperate, sad and alone situtations,
political and social destruction of the Balkans
in
terms of
Angelopouslos’
use of long
take, colours and low-key lighting and intense
scorce by Eleni Karaindrou.

The
narrator
provide for bring
the storyline together with the whole mise-en-scene. With
the narrater, we make time travel between Manakis brothers’ three
reels and A’ journey.
In the opening scene, firstly,
we witness daily life of people in the Balkans then go forward to
present, the scene which three
men, Yanakis,
Yanakis’
assistant and

A
are seen and
Yanakis’ assistant is
talking about the possibility of undevelopment three reel of Manakis
brothers, giving clue that what will be film about, then the camera
pans left and tracks backward, seeing the man dies and the other man
moves to the rights, meanwhile, camera follows him that is called
“unmotivated
movement”.

Headliner,
A who appears about fourty yers, is seen, he is moving and again the
camera follows him, his last word in the opening scene is “a
journey”. The
ship’s horn is heard, he looks deeply to ship with sorrowful melody
in the background and the camera tracks forward directly to the ship
which is called “dolly”
then
the ship starts to sail and the camera remains stable, an example for
“long
take”.
Considering
the the use of long take in the opening scene, e xpressing his deep
yearn to home, life and demand to expose the undeveloped reels which
displays
the past of the Balkans, is
a
hope about the future and hope for the people ruined by the war,
politics,
ideologies
. Finally, after that scene, A’s journay literally begins.

In
the first sequences,
in Florina,
political
and social conflicts and ideological distinction are demonstrated.
There
are lots
of poeple in
the
street, standing still under the rain with their umbrellas,
the camera pans to right, meanwhile, the voices are coming from
somewhere but sources can not be seen, that is called “nondiegectic
sound”.
People are just listening the movie but can not watch it
probably it is forbidden in that time. The
scene
shifts to frame in which
police separating demonstrators with torches, and other people with
umbrellas.

Angelopouslos
uses his dominant technique that long takes and long shots, creating
a possible way to explicate and interprete his perspective throught
the film and prompts the audience to observe and think deeply in
every aspects. He shots almost every significant and dramatic scenes
in long shots. By doing that, the alienation and misery of the
consequences of the war laid down in the purpose of the film. His aim
of use that is constructing uninterrupted integrity in which
transition from present to his memories. Angelopouslos
strews a lots of great and effective scenes to reflects the mood of
the film which means also the atmosphere of the Balkans, sadnees,
aloneless and desperate.

At
the border, A runs across an elder Albain woman who falls apart from
her sister 47 years after the civil war in Albania, she requests to
ride her to hometown. While they are tripping, the camera goes with
the tax in
eyel level shot, refugee
are seen, walking on the empty roads with their bagajes maybe try to
find a shelter that another detail, showing conditions of people in
the Balkans in 1990’s. Then they finally arrive to
Korytsa
and the woman get off from taxi in desolate center of the city, the
camera tranks backward, moving away from her in long take shot,
mixing with sorrowful soundtrack. Angelepouslos
avoids empathic close-ups that would give the impression of an
identification with the character, He does not give the impression of
an inner life, of a hidden reality of emotions, The camera is always
set at deep focus, with almost parallel focalisations, replacing thus
multiple shots with multiple perspectives, Tracking
the camera backward, the completely empty and deserted streets draw
the attention, externalizing the alienation and solitude of the
Albanian women.
Then the scene is cut and shifts to the
other, two-shot of A and the driver, man pulls over and they start to
talk about the situation of Greece, the driver says ” Do you know
something ? Greece is dying. The medium shot(?) of the driver,
standing up and climbing a stone, the camera tilts up, shots from the
back of the men, creating a picture that a man stands in foggy and
dark place just like trying to oppose the all struggles and he says ”
Hey! Nature, you’re alone ? I’m alone as much as you.” And
continuening as ” It is the end of road.” Just like almost every
person in the Balkans, he loses his hope and is all alone.

Angelepouslos
uses the colors to express his idea and creates the atmosphere of the
film and feelings. Just like in that scene, the weather is the snowy
and misty and and the colors are used to make the audience feel
melancholic. With these gloomy scenes, Angelepoulous tries to
demonstrates the first proofs that devastating way of the war. Also
use of colors like grey black and white in almost entire film and
also the use of lighting, mostly low-key light
clarifies his perspective to the story and his reflecting to the
audience. The colours of the night that we see in the early scenes
set in Greece are gradually opening up to the gloomy atmosphere in
Albania, claustrophobic scenes in Skopje, the soft and gentle colours
of his childhood in Romania until they are filled with cosmic chaos
in the majestic scene of the statue of Lenin in the Danube. Cold and
warm colours are used interchangeably in the scenes in Sarajevo,
until the reality of death destroys all colours in the mist. The
viewer sees the inner psychic unfolding of the collective adventure
in a set of non-verbal signs.

Another
scene begins with the eye-level and two-shot to medium close-up of A
and woman who has short curly hair, glasses, brown trencoat, a
chain-smoking romantic redolent of the French New Wave
played
by Maia
Morgenstern. They are travelling with the train from Albania to
Skopje by the way man talking her about his purpose. Later, the woman
get off the train, A stands on the entrance of the train, continuing
to talk then the train starts to move and the camera follows it and
pans to right, creating “undercranking”

In
a sequence shot of more than 10 minutes, the longest and most
ritually meaningful of the whole film, we will observe to the rhythm
of the music and dance the post-war years. The
sequences follow the other dramatic and memorable scene. The camera
pans to left, a woman appears who A calls her “Mom”. They
travelling together by train and the scene shifts and they finally
arrive the family house Costanza, from the streets, the sound of the
procommunist partizans . A is seen as a child, understanding that
it’s flashblack and back through time- blending present and memory,
slipping smoothly and disconcertingly into the past, It is A’s
family house in New Year’s 1945. They waiting for the return of
A’s father, a prisoner in a German concentration camp. The
eye-level master shot of the people in the saloon, finally the father
comes , A finally meets his father, family. They are dancing
accompanied with a joyful sing. We observe to the rhythm of the music
and the the dance. Then the music becomes sorrowful and the
celebration is cut short by the arrival of members from the People’s
Confiscation Committee (PCC), who arrest A.’s uncle, Langilos.While
he is going, he says “1948 brings happiness to all of you” and it
is understand that we suddenly go forward in the time. The dancing
resumes, the frame is cut by returning of PCC members to confiscate
the family’s property, then a man wants to take a family picture to
celebrate 1950 New Year. In
the background, the sounds of communist partizan heard, giving clue
that first
the establishment of communism, then the purges and Stalinist
seizures and finally, in 1950, the authorisation for Greek, Jewish
and Armenian families, the main minorities scattered through the old
Ottoman territories, to emigrate.
A,
who has been off-screen for the last section of this long take,
returns to the frame as his childhood self and the camera zooms upon
his face. A wakes up and understands it was a dream. The long shot
externalizes
his yearn to his childhood, old happy days with his family without
grief, sadness, solitude and thinking the state of his country. His
finner feelings such disconnectin, alienation, distance, nostalgia
are reflected with the long take of New Year Scene.

Along the journey, A run across
several women, all of them played by Maia
Morgenstern; in
several sequences, show up in different characters such as
woman .a
widow, a mother, a chain-smoking romantic redolent of the French New
Wave.
There
must be a meaning under the Angelopouslos’s exceptional
preference. It
can be observed in the scene that after
the the protagonist backs to present, he and Mia go to port to
continue his journey, after learning three reel shot are in Belgrade.
A and Mia make their farewell and A starts to cry. When Mia asks the
reason, he says ” I cry because I can not love you. ” That
dialogue reflects his emotional depression and disappearence of love.
Besides, the scene can be interpreted in a different way that Maia
Morgenstern is shown as a
different characters
unlike before,
as mentioned, and
each of them meet with A
and has
connection and relationship with
him but
all of them fall apart from him. MAybe
he loses someone who loved
before the war and likens every woman figure to her.
Deprivation and sorrow caused by war, is again indicated. The
dialogue actually taken from Odysses of Homer. Ulysses, who remained
in Kalipso for seven years, did not love Kalipso and always thought
of Penelope ,thence, he always went to the beach and crying. The
scene in which has so many meaning, shows the Angelepouslos use of
colligating myth with history and perfect reflection of the
psychological states of people in the Balkans.
Besides
the emotional depression, the film also reflects
political demolition of the Balkan countries due to the World War II
and Balkan Wars. The
Vladamir Lenin’s statue is the most power and impressive scene to
reveal that.
In the following port scene, long take of Vladamir Lenin’s statue
is observed. The the camera focuses it and titls from the ground to
the top of the crane,
removing the statu of Lenin’ head. Almost 30 seconds, moving of the
Lenin statue is seen that it is symbol and has a powerful meaning on
it. The war and political messages of Angelepouslos lays under it.
Then A gets on ship in which Lenin statue is,
it starts to sailing and the camera tracks
forward to the ship. This
sequence is also a long take in
which
people
at the banks of the river follow the ship, running and making the
sign of the cross. It
is known that according to Cristian faith, the cross is taken after
the deaths. For
this reason, that scene is like a funeral and demonstrates it is the
end of the revolution and ruin of the Balkans in
the 20th century.The
sequence is the symbol of the dead of socialism.
Observing
the political theme in
which the sounds of strings are dominant, softly blends with,and
becomes a living part of what we see: the fragments of the statue;
the flowing river;the sailing ship; the running people following the
ship (who,with their detached looks and their queer gestures recall
the chorus members in Greek tragedy). We observe all this from above
and in a long-shot.. At the arrival in Belgrade, with the turning
movement of the camera we can go deep into Lenin’s”stony” gaze
and finger, both directed at some uncertain point in the sky. Lenin’s
finger point out the direction of A’s long journey.
When
A arrives to …. , he meets his friend and they keep going to search
for the three reel. With the frustation of can’t finding them, they
go to a bar. Medium close of two men drinking and toast to their
losses, memorialize their friend, woeful music in the background.
With that sorrowful scene, the seperation, losses and gried caused by
the war, are again emphasize in the long shot. “”

A
meets a woman
in
a black dress cover-up his body ( Mia ) who stays away from her home
and decide to go … secretly over the river in dark night. The long
take of voyage from the night to other day, they arrive to her home.
The widow encounter the destroyed home and understands
her husband is
dead and
screams, cries sadly. A is off-screen, the camera zooms her face,
reflecting her grief and shock. The next morning, A wakes up naked in
her house, the camera pans left, showing the woman washing clothes,
singing a sorrowful song, the she comes back to house put out her
husband’s clothes from
crate and give
them to A. In sequences of long take, we witness the grief and
aloneless of the war widow. She loses her home, her husband, her life
in a way. She tries to fills
emptiness, increase her anguish even with a stranger.

A
finally arrives his last station of the journey, Sarajeovo, ruined
city. So
many destoreyed houses, fire, smoke are seen in the first scene. A
begins to run in the empty streets and the camera follows him. He
is seem like does not know what to do. He
tries to ask people something but nobody listen him just runingn to
their home. The extreme long shot of
A while
he stops,
the camera tracks
backward, showing
his despair in the street all alone. Angelopouslos
cuts
the scene and the camera ans slightly to left, long shot of the
ruined house. By the long shot, Angelepouslos again
underline
the impressive frame. The
scene is cut, A enters a hole that obviously Sarajevo Film Archive,
also in ruins, hearing the sounds of bombs and guns. The camera pans
to left with A and a boy is seen. He is scared to realize someone is
coming. A says that he is looking for someone called ” Ivo Levy “.
The scene is cut, A
finally finds Ivo Levy (
Erland
Josephson
)
while
he just tries to explain his purpose, electricity goes off ,
the scene becomes dark, alarm
stars to ring. It
is understood that something going wrong.
Ivo
Levy says ” Let’s get out from here right now ” and everyone
starst to escape in the darkness. The
next scene, while A and Levy are running, the sound of a bomb is
heard again. They
breathlessly stop in front of the burned truck. “Welcome
to Sarajevo” says
Levy.

The
camera tranks forward, zooms to them while Levy is talking about
danger
of A journey. The
scene is cut and they arrive Levy’s place and a new figure appears,
the daughter
of Levy,
Moi (
Maia
Morgenstern ).
She looking for her father to go back home before the sirens blow.
While A and her dialogue is continuing,
she say ” Your face seems like familiar. ” , with that speech
Angelopouslos underline the reason why almost every female character
played by same star due to the fact that women are reminiscent of
someone he lost a long time ago.

Then,
A get out from a hole under the street, the camera pans left with A
and suddenly
an
explosion is heaard, the
camera cranes up, showing otomobiles, houses, everything is on fire.
The sequence follows one of the dramatic
frame, the
master shot of mentally
ill people come out in the street. The camera tracks forward, they
look at the dead people
in the street and walk around unaware of anything. There is nobody
except
insane people surrounded
by disaster.
A
goes back and Levy gives the good new that he
finally has
discovered the formula to develop the three film reels.
For
the fist, A is seem happy, he eventually reach his aim after a very
long and diffucult journey.

” In
that city, fog is the best friend of man because it is the only time
the city gets back the normal almost
like it used to be,
the
spiders have to lead of …, foggy days are the feast
days.”
The stunnig
speech reflect hopelessness
of
the people in Sarajevo. Hearing
footsteps
and the music of the youth orchestra signal the welcome relief of the
fog that descends on Sarajevo, shielding its citizens from the
omnipresent threat of snipers. The
ochestra
made up by Serbians, Croatians and Muslims performs Eleni Karaindrou,
displayes that all people shall be unity to bring peace in their
country

The
next scene opens in foggy and
gloomy atmosphere with powerful soundtrack. The camera cranes up,
showing the orchestra of children. The frame is symbol of people’s
hope for the future.
The
film ends with the scene in which Levy’s family are killed by
snipers in “foggy day”.

Cold
and warm colours are used interchangeably in the scenes in Sarajevo,
until the reality of death destroys all colours in the mist. A
reaches to the purpose of journey
but he witness the pain, sorrow, somberness,
political and social decline of the 20th
century Balkans.

As

a conclusion, Angelopouslos’
Ulysses’
Gaze
unable us to accompany the director A’s journey for searching three
reel film of Manakis brothers.
With that journey, Angelepouslos intend
to externalize the consequences of the war, pain
and sorrow of the people in 20th century the Balkans by
using long takes and long shots.
He
refrains from close-ups
to exact moments and scenes that distinctly express the inner feeling
of the characters and the hidden emotions, instead the
camera is always sets
at deep focus, with almost parallel focalisations, replacing thus
multiple shots with multiple perspectives, trying
to reflect it deeper by
aid
of intense score of Eleni Karaindrou.
Also using dark colors, low-key lighting reflects
woeful and gloomy atmosphere of the
film
Angelopoulos’
Ulysses’
Gaze
deals
with many issues, such as: borders between countries and immigration;
the social deconstruction and effects
on
the
Balkans after the
World War II and Civil War; and political conflicts
in the Balkan region. The
film also
explores
the gloomy
living condition of ordinary people under the
consequences of the war. The
film give an opportunity to ‘gaze’
and
make a journey between present and past with A’s memories and
Manakis Brothers’ reel films. Angelopouslos’
Ulysses’ Gaze is a masterpiece, combines
so
many issues physical
and psychological destruction,communications gap between people,
fragmentation of policiy and social structure.