Ulysses Gaze

Overview

Winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this drama centers on the Balkan conflict as viewed through the eyes of a filmmaker named A Harvey Keitel. Director Theo Angelopoulos wrote the screenplay, drawing from personal experiences. A is a Greek émigré director who returns to his homeland after 35 years in the U.S., ostensibly to screen his latest film, which is so controversial that it attracts religious protests. In fact, A's real purpose is to search for three reels of undeveloped film that may be...
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Overview

Winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this drama centers on the Balkan conflict as viewed through the eyes of a filmmaker named A Harvey Keitel. Director Theo Angelopoulos wrote the screenplay, drawing from personal experiences. A is a Greek émigré director who returns to his homeland after 35 years in the U.S., ostensibly to screen his latest film, which is so controversial that it attracts religious protests. In fact, A's real purpose is to search for three reels of undeveloped film that may be the first ever shot by pioneer Balkan filmmakers the Manakis brothers, who documented simple circa-1900 peasant life. A's Homeric journey includes flashbacks into past historical events. He travels by taxi to Albania, where he enlists the help of a film archivist Maia Morgenstern, who plays all four female roles. She joins him on a train ride to Bucharest, Romania. An extensive flashback chronicles A's childhood under Communism in Bucharest. His next stop is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where he is directed to Sarajevo. Angelopoulos mixes scenes shot during the actual Balkan war with historic re-enactments and dreamscapes to examine the role of the artist in political upheaval. ~ Michael Betzold
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Special Features

Interactive menus; Filmographies; Production notes; Scene access; Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Ulysses' Gaze is easy to imagine as the darling of Cannes: ambitious, high-minded, artsy . . . and too ponderous for its own good. Writer-director Theo Angelopoulos' 1995 Grand Prize winner is clearly a labor of love, and what a labor. Over the course of nearly three hours, he wheels his camera (and Harvey Keitel) throughout the Balkan peninsula, capturing war-torn dilapidation and photogenic oddities that simply can't be conjured on a sound stage. Homer's The Odyssey, alluded to in the title, is consummately a story of chapters and set pieces, and that's what Ulysses' Gaze serves up -- one gritty wonder after the next. As an example, Angelopoulos coordinated filming the real-world dismantling of a giant statue of Lenin, which is then shipped on a barge down the Danube. The director not only takes in this awesome spectacle through helicopter shots, with particular emphasis on Lenin's impressive head, but he also films the reactions of the understandably awestruck peasants along the banks. Ulysses' Gaze builds on its atmospheric successes through its narrative themes, which include the cinematically meaty quest for three lost reels of film shot by turn-of-the-century Greek pioneers, the contents of which are the stuff of legend. Where Ulysses' Gaze fails to be totally captivating is its drama, a fault to be shared by the script and Angelopoulos' directing of his actors. The dialogue (and its interpretation) alternates between the abstruse, featuring intellectual wool-gathering that often has no moorings, and the melodramatic, involving out-of-nowhere romantic intensity between characters who only just met. Generously, these inspire head-scratching; at worst, laughter. Ulysses' Gaze is nobody's idea of an easy film, but its challenges are more often rewarding than trying. Keitel fans will be pleased that he delivers on two personal trademarks: full-frontal nudity, and a scene where he cries like a tortured animal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/11/1999
  • UPC: 720917506722
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Lorber
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan / Black & White / Stereo
  • Sound: stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:53:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harvey Keitel A
Maia Morgenstern "Ulysses'" wife
Erland Josephson S. , Filmmuseum curator
Thanassis Vengos
Vangelis Kazan
Eva Kotamanidou
Nikos Kouros
Dragan Maksimovic
Olivera Markovic
Nadia Mourouzi
Slobodan Ninkovic
Ljuba Tadic
Vesna Trivalic
Technical Credits
Theo Angelopoulos Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Georges Arvanitis Cinematographer
Thanassis Arvanitis Sound/Sound Designer
Tonino Guerra Screenwriter
Eleni Karaindrou Production Designer
Helen Karaindrou Score Composer
Ioannis Papadopoulos Art Director
Giorgos Patsas Production Designer
Bernard Le Roux Sound/Sound Designer
Giorgio Silvagni Producer
Andreas Sinanos Cinematographer
Marc Soustras Producer
Yannis Tsitsopoulos Editor
Giorgos Ziakas Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Access
1. Opening Credits [29:57]
2. Three Reels [13:57]
3. At The Border [13:02]
4. Reunion [30:24]
5. Sarajevo [9:39]
6. The Journey [34:08]
7. Another Try [35:09]
8. End Credits [2:41]
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Menu

Main
Play Movie
Side #1 --
Filmographies
   Harvey Keitel
   Maïa Morgenstern
   Erland Josephson
Trailers
   Ulysses' Gaze-French trailer
   Ulysses' Gaze-English trailer
Production Credits
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