Release date:September 14, 2005
Studio:New Yorker Films
Screenwriters:Theo Angelopoulos, Tonino Guerra, Petros Markaris, Giorgio Silvagni
Starring:Alexandra Aidini, Nikos Poursadinis, Giorgos Armenis, Vassilis Kolovos, Toula Stathopoulou, Thalia Argiriou, Grigoris Evangelatos
"The Weeping Meadow," the first panel of the trilogy, spans 1919-1949 and begins with a ragged band of Greek refugees from Odessa settling in a village on the misty northern plains. In a transgression of mythic proportions, the orphan Eleni falls in love with her adoptive brother Alexis and, after marrying his widowed father, flees with her lover to the port of Thessaloniki. As the unrest of the 1930s pits fascism against leftism, Alexis, a talented musician, departs for America and leaves Eleni and their two sons behind to bear the brunt of Greek history: World War II, political repression, civil war. "The Weeping Meadow" was shot entirely in Greece on Kerkini Lake, where an entire village was constructed, and in Thessaloniki, where a refugee settlement was built. The ambition of Angelopoulos's concept is matched by the grandeur of his style, which takes his majestically fluid camerawork to new heights of virtuosity and produces a steady stream of stunning images. An ornate theater is converted into a refugee tenement, a tree is festooned with slaughtered sheep, a funeral flotilla glides across a lake's mirrored surface, and an apocalyptic flood drowns the refugees' village, leaving the skeletons of abandoned houses. More boldly than ever, Angelopoulos juggles foreground and background, personal and political, story and history into an epic vision.