Ulysses' Gaze

Ulysses' Gaze

Ulysses' Gaze DVD cover
Directed by Theo Angelopoulos
Produced by Phoebe Economopoulos
Eric Heumann
Giorgio Silvagni
Written by Theo Angelopoulos
Tonino Guerra
Petros Markaris
Giorgio Silvagni
Kain Tsitseli
Starring Harvey Keitel
Maia Morgenstern
Erland Josephson
Music by Eleni Karaindrou
Distributed by Roissy Films
Release dates
  • 13 September 1995 (1995-09-13) (France)
Running time
176 minutes
Country Greece
Language English

Ulysses' Gaze (Greek: Το βλέμμα του Οδυσσέα, translit. To Vlemma tou Odyssea) is a 1995 Greek film directed by Theo Angelopoulos. The actor Gian Maria Volontè died during the filming. He was then replaced by Erland Josephson and the film has been dedicated to his memory. The film was selected as the Greek entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 68th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.[1][2]


A successful Greek filmmaker A (Harvey Keitel) is returning home and sets out on an epic journey across the battered Balkans in search of three lost reels of film by the Manaki brothers, the pioneering photographers who introduced movies into the Balkans at the beginning of the century.

The search for the reels of film works as a metaphor for a search for the common history of the Balkan countries. It is also a reflection on the impossibility of finding new fora of communication.

The magic realist of the Balkans, Theo Angelopoulos ushers in a different Greece through his films, a different humanity: one that suffers from melancholia at the breakdown of democratic state policies; where Odysseus returns in the twentieth century to find a nation that mocks its classical past, thrives on repressive state policies and dictatorship, and corrupt and dynastic measures. Angelopoulos makes nostalgic journeys into the past and weaves – much like the Manaki brothers to whom he paid a tribute in Ulysses’ Gaze – epic cinema out of the fragments of ordinary life. His exiled travelling people never fully make it back to their Ithaca. Through their “gaze” of the embittered landscape, and through the Nietzschian concept of eternal return, the hierophants of Odysseus desperately try to preserve humanity through imagined beauty. Hence it is only in Angelopoulos’ lens that fellow inhabitants of Sarajevo venture out on a foggy evening, when the smog renders it impossible for the snipers to carry out their mission, and remark at the beauty of the world, and be swayed wordlessly by classical music in a bombed-out, open air, makeshift amphitheatre.[3]

The film ends in Sarajevo, where A finds both the lost reels and his true love (Maia Morgensten), who is executed by a death squad. The director laments both the lost love and the impossibility of building a new solidarity in the Balkans.

The filming took place in Florina and Lavrion, Greece.



The film includes an extract from the real Manakis brothers' 1905 film The Weavers.


The score by Eleni Karaindrou featuring Kim Kashkashian on viola was released on the ECM label in 1995.


See also


  1. Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. "41 to Compete for Foreign Language Oscar Nominations". FilmFestivals.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  3. "Theo Angelopoulos And Greece". Silhouette Magazine & Learning and Creativity. 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2014-06-22. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. "Festival de Cannes: Ulysses' Gaze". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  5. http://www.themovingarts.com/100-greatest-movies-of-all-time/
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