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Eternity and a Day

Director/Writer:Theo Angelopoulos
Merchant Ivory Films; NR; 132 minutes
Release:5/99
Cast:Bruno Ganz, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Isabelle Renauld, Anchilleas Skevis

Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos' inimitable blend of poignant visual symbolism and metaphysical grandeur will be familiar to all those who saw Ulysses' Gaze, a tour-de-force to which Eternity and a Day is a more accessible, equally powerful follow-up. Graceful, contemplative, and filled with beautifully rendered mists shrouding northern Greek cityscapes, Eternity and a Day is an epic visual poem raising life's greatest questions.

Alexandre (Bruno Ganz) is a dying artist who bravely seeks resolution and reaffirmation as his last day on earth approaches. Angelopoulos' ability to dreamily interweave present and past is used to express the depth of experience and memory with great success. Alexandre's deceased wife (Isabelle Renauld) appears in her radiant prime; his mother and their family home crescendo in importance; an exiled street boy becomes the artist's final friend. Formative scenes from Alexandre's life are treated with a philosophical contemplation that never loses profoundly human elements of love, loss, and acceptance. Eternity and a Day is a welcome addition to Angelopoulos' work that sets the talented filmmaker on par with the best of Ingmar Bergman.