Friday, February 11, 2011
Last night I watched “The Beekeeper” a film made in 1986 by Theo Angelopoulos; it is the most poetic film I have ever watched. The allusions begin in the very first scenes when a small bird becomes trapped in a room in which a wedding reception is being held and allusions, both blatant and subtle, are liberally scattered throughout the remainder of the film. The story, such as it is, is that of the botched life of its protagonist, Spyro (Marcello Mastroianni) who may be a metaphor for everyman and whose botched existence, or something near to it, may be that of all of us. To me the film also emphasised the essential singularity of life; its aloneness. Usually preferring the written word I am not a film enthusiast but occasionally a film does move me; invariably such films are those that use cinema alone and in its own right as the communicative medium. “The Beekeeper” is one such. Dialogue is sparse; images communicate. Director Angelopoulos does not patronize his audiences; long lingering scenes allow plenty of time for imagination to occupy vacancies, to invent and perhaps to weave something of the viewer’s own life experience into that or those being lived out in the film. The photography, prosecuted in the most uncompromising of conditions - the film was largely shot in cold, grey, wet early spring in bleak, neglected, Northern Greece - is stunning, as is the unobtrusive but haunting Eleni Karaindrou background music. This film will, for me, stand watching time and again and, as with re-reading the best of books, I expect each subsequent viewing to be something of a novel experience.