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Movies > Forbidden love, loss fill “Meadow” (movie review) May 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.

The first in a projected trilogy by the renowned Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos (“Landscape in the Mist”), “The Weeping Meadow” cuts a wide swath through the 20th century in the story of a forbidden love and its devastating aftermath.

Steeped in loss, exile and suggestions of incest set against Greece’s involvement in two world wars and other homegrown tumult, “Meadow” churns like classic tragedy while its pace is set by Angelopoulos’ trademark, spooky portentousness.

Slaughtered sheep dangle from the branches of a tree; war refugees advance to a promised land in a long, unbroken take; and scores of white bed sheets flap in the wind like an unintended Christo earthwork linking innocence and nihilism.

Eleni (Alexandra Aidini) and Alexis (Nikos Poursadinis) meet in 1919 during a flight from the Red Army’s advance into Odessa. Alexis’ father, Spyros (Vassilis Kolovos), adopts Eleni on the road to Thessaloniki and later arranges to marry her, unaware of the passion she shares with her brother.

On the day of her marriage to Spyros, Eleni runs off with Alexis. Stalked from city to city by the half-mad Spyros, the pair eventually make a life for themselves that unravels under pressures from fascism and World War II.

Angelopoulos’ lengthy drama is both hypnotic and sporadically bathetic. Events, typically, are revealed through a thick glaze of myth, stripping immediacy from action as if we are watching ourselves having a dream. The effect is powerful, but an unbroken chain of misery in the final hour breaches Angelopoulos’ earlier, emotional economy.

“The Weeping Meadow” with Alexandra Aidini, Nikos Poursadinis, Vassilis Kolovos. Directed by Theo Angelopoulos, from a screenplay by Angelopoulos, Tonino Guerra, Petros Markaris and Giorgio Silvagni. 170 minutes.

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