Théo Angelopoulos

Active - 1970 - 2012  |   Born - Apr 17, 1935   |   Died - Jan 24, 2012   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Though he wasn't as well known as he deserved to be among the general populace of American moviegoers, filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Theo Angelopoulos established himself as one of the most brilliant and original directorial voices in the world. The films of Angelopoulos contain engrossing stories that unfold slowly, naturally; they are realistic and yet one never forgets their theatrical roots, and subtle abstractions abound. Angelopoulos was born and raised in Greece. Before going to Paris to study at the prestigious IDHEC film school in the 1960s, he was a practicing lawyer. At that time he began writing and publishing essays, stories and poems. In the late '50s, he served in the military and shortly thereafter moved to Paris to enroll in literature classes at the Sorbonne before moving on to film school. He eventually returned to Greece and became a film critic. In 1965, Angelopoulos attempted to direct his first film, but an argument with the producer killed the project and he didn't try again until 1968 when he directed a short documentary. Two years later he made his fictional feature film debut with Reconstruction. His earliest features were based on contemporary Greek history. His most recognized historical films, such as Voyage to Cythera(1984), also delve into ancient history and mythology. But whether dealing with the recent or distant past, most of Angelopoulos' films contain a political message applicable to modern times. Many of his films have won awards at international film festivals, but to date, few of his films have made it to commercial release in the U.S. His most highly praised film is arguably Eternity and a Day (1998), a meditation on life and death about the final days of a Greek poet played by Bruno Ganz; the picture deservedly won the Golden Palm at Cannes. Tragically, Angelopolous died in a bizarre incident in early 2012. During the production of his film The Other Sea, he was crossing the road near the port of Piraeus when an off-duty police officer on a motorcycle accidentally struck him down, causing numerous critical head injuries. The director was 76.

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