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The Travelling Players - O Thiassos (1975)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
232′
The Travelling Players is a film of epic proportions. The action takes place during the years 1939-52 and is seen as a series of individual, often inexplicable events or tableaux, commentated by monologues, by slogans written on the walls, or by songs. It reveals the period's turbulent history while focusing on a travelling company of actors who spend those fourteen years wandering through provinces, cities and villages, performing, in increasingly threadbare circumstances, a 19th century pastoral melodrama, Persiadis' Golfo the Shepherdess. They never get to finish the play and the tranquil sheep painted on their back cloth gaze down upon generations of anguish and bloodshed. The passage of history reverberates in individual incidents or is summarized in symbols. These sad, shabby, often hungry folk, whose relationship is based on the family of the House of Atreus, are of varying political hues - from active collaborators with the Nazis (Aegisthus), to opportunists (Chrysothemis), to centrist Greek patriots (Agamemnon), to the apolitical (Clytemnestra), to left-wing idealists (Electra), to communist guerillas (Orestes). And they fill these roles as much as they do the mythic ones of wandering general, faithless wife, betrayer or vengeful son. As they travel amid the constant wartime convulsions, they begin, unconsciously, to enact parallels to Aeschylus' tragic cycle.
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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
Michail Kalatosow
Russia
91′
Veronika and Boris come together in Moscow shortly before World War II. Walking along the river, they watch cranes fly overhead, and promise to rendezvous before Boris leaves to fight. Boris misses the meeting and is off to the front lines, while Veronika waits patiently, sending letters faithfully. After her house is bombed, Veronika moves in with Boris’ family, into the company of a cousin with his own intentions.
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Burma VJ (2008)
Anders Østergaard
Denmark
85′
Beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker Anders Østergaard, brings us close to Burma’s video journalists who insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country despite risking torture and life in jail. Armed with small handycams they make their undercover reportages, smuggle the material out of the country, and broadcast back into Burma via satellite or offered as free usage for international media.
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