Theo Angelopolous has taken on a particularly wide-ranging historical panorama as the subject of his latest trilogy. It is, however, this panorama that allows him to recount a number of highly personal stories: “This is the story of two people and their relationship to each other, beginning in Odessa in 1919 and ending in modern-day New York. It is a story of exile, separation and wandering, chronicling the collapse of ideologies and the trials of history.”
The story begins just after the invasion of the Red Army in Odessa when Greek refugees are returning to their homeland. This is where the love story between Alexis and Eleni begins. Although the pair have grown up together, their love goes against the wishes of Alexis’ father, who sees in Eleni a suitable wife for himself. But historical change and socio-economic forces are what really put Alexis and Eleni’s love to the test. Forced to leave their village in disgrace, the couple roam about Greece. However, all of their efforts to keep their love intact are in vain. Finally, Alexis emigrates to the USA; Eleni, however, is imprisoned for supporting opponents to the regime.
The Second World War breaks out, Greece is occupied by the Germans; after the war, the country plunges into civil war. The couple’s sons fight on opposing sides and both lose their lives. Alexis is killed fighting in Okinawa with the American army. For her part, Eleni follows the example set by her country’s ancient heroes – the struggle of the Seven against Thebes …
Greece / France 2003, 170 min