The End Of An Eternity
Greece 1999, 52 min.
Theo Angelopoulos is one of the few remaining classic European auteurs. His films so clearly bear a signature that is his and his alone. He is adored by actors because he gives them so much space to interpret the figures they represent. And being his cinematographer must be a gift to anyone who loves the long, smooth movements that are kept uncut in the final epos. Either you love the films of Angelopoulos, or you find them extremely boring and enigmatic.
The same goes for “The End of an Eternity”, a fascinating look at the director´s way of working during the shooting of “Eternity and a Day”: for admirers, there is so much to appreciate. Made with absolute respect for the director, this is a low-key, intense look at how Angelopoulos explains one particular scene to his crew. It is a scene where the protagonist, a dying man, meets men and women from his past at a house near the sea. The scene is rehearsed again and again, outside and inside, until the final shooting is decided on. Contrary to what one might have expected, the director is not quite sure how to shoot this final scene, and consequently he tries different options, with and without the leading actor, Bruno Ganz. Thus the viewer sees how the director´s extraordinary sense of choreography comes into the film, and witnesses the perfectionism he requires from everyone at the set. Chainsmoking Angelopoulos admits that getting older also means becoming more aware of his own limits, as well as others’. “He is a great artist,” says Ganz, “but the man Theo Angelopoulos I know very little about.” If you did not know it beforehand, this film fully demonstrates that filmmaking is a craft that requires a lot of creative thinking. “The director is the one who imagines, not the one who sees,” says Theo Angelopolous.