Ulysses' Gaze (1997)


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Movie Info

Winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this drama centers on the Balkan conflict as viewed through the eyes of a filmmaker named A (Harvey Keitel). Director Theo Angelopoulos wrote the screenplay, drawing from personal experiences. A is a Greek émigré director who returns to his homeland after 35 years in the U.S., ostensibly to screen his latest film, which is so controversial that it attracts religious protests. In fact, A's real purpose is to search for three reels of undeveloped film that may be the first ever shot by pioneer Balkan filmmakers the Manakis brothers, who documented simple circa-1900 peasant life. A's Homeric journey includes flashbacks into past historical events. He travels by taxi to Albania, where he enlists the help of a film archivist (Maia Morgenstern, who plays all four female roles). She joins him on a train ride to Bucharest, Romania. An extensive flashback chronicles A's childhood under Communism in Bucharest. His next stop is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where he is directed to Sarajevo. Angelopoulos mixes scenes shot during the actual Balkan war with historic re-enactments and dreamscapes to examine the role of the artist in political upheaval. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Ulysses' Gaze

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

Magisterially filmed, this movie demands at almost every instant to be regarded as a masterpiece, though for me it's too full of itself and its own virtue. Still, I can't deny it's an experience worth having.

Nov 15, 2007 | Full Review…

Constructed from long elegant takes, and moving fluidly between naturalism and tableaux-like theatricality, it's a mesmerising work of arresting beauty and impressive emotional power.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The overall effect is genuinely entrancing, with a sense of tragic inevitability that gives meaning to the film's maddeningly attenuated rhythms.

Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5

This grim travelogue through a landscape of despair lacks internal power. It feels labored and portentous.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

What arrogance and self-importance this film reveals.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Many of the images have a searing melancholy beauty, but they can also seem hackneyed. Likewise, the ideas underpinning Angelopoulos's gargantuan enterprise -- of the universality of alienation and the impos-sibility of pure art -- are commonplace.

Dec 6, 2017 | Full Review…

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