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A, a Greek film maker exiled to the United States, returns to his native Ptolemais to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films. But Aís real interest lies elsewhere - the mythical reels of the very first film shot by the Manakia brothers, who at the dawn of the age of cinema, tirelessly criss-crossed the Balkans and, without regard for national and ethnic strife, recorded the regionís history and customs. Did these primitive, never developed images really exist? If so, where are they? From Korita, Albania, to Skoplje, Macedonia, Bucharest to Costanza, Romania, down the Danube to what used to be Yugoslavia, from Belgrade to Sarajevo, A pursues his search for the Manakia brothersí pictures. Along the way, he encounters his own history, the Balkan past, and women whom he could love. He hopes to find, in these forgotten pictures, the innocence of a virgin gaze.

"Ulyssesí Gaze is a mood piece: a reflective film that journeys into the past and present. Extremely slow at times, and sometimes documentary in style, it requires patience. Tracing the footsteps of his past, the Greek film maker, A (Harvey Keitel), visits places which are pregnant with memories. The present is at times integrated with the past, and the passing of time is intriguingly handled.

We are drawn into memories of New Year celebrations; 1945 becomes 1948 and then 1950. Each year heralds a memory. All memories are coloured by war. Is it faith or despair that propels A to obsessively seek out the three mythical reels of undeveloped film from an age of innocence.

From war-torn destination to destination, it is clear that the harshness of the real images are having an effect. In the final destination of Sarajevo, with its deserted streets and bombed buildings, when confronted by the existence of the sought-after reels, it is time to reassess. Keitel is constantly present, and brings with him a strength of character through whose eyes we can observe. Despite a haunting soundtrack, stunning scenery and the indomitable Keitel, Ulyssesí Gaze is not for everyone. It has a remoteness, with the viewer always the observer, not the participant."
Louise Keller

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(To Vlemma Tou Odyssea)


CAST: Harvey Keitel, Maia Morgenstern, Erland Josephson,

DIRECTOR: Theo Angelopoulos

PRODUCER: Eric Heumann

SCRIPT: Theo Angelopoulos, with Tonino Guerra/Petros Markaris


EDITOR: Yannis Tsitsopoulos

MUSIC: Eleni Karaindrou (violin solo: Kim Kashkashian)

SET DESIGN: Yorgos Patsa. Miodrag Mile Nicolic

COSTUMES: Yorgos Ziakas

RUNNING TIME: 178 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 18, 1997

AWARDS: Cannes Film Festival, 1995: Grand Jury Prize & International Critics Prize

European Film Awards 1995: Felix of the Critics

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