Landscape in the mist” by Theo Angelopoulos / Wednesday, April 12, 2017

REVIEW/FILM: A Search for a Fictive Father, By STEPHEN HOLDEN

Published: September 14, 1990

Along the way, they meet many people, the two most significant encounters being with a brutish truck driver who rapes Voula in the back of his rig, and a friendly gay biker named Orestes for whom Voula feels the first stirrings of romantic attraction. Orestes, whom Stratos Tzortzoglou imbues with a winning sweetness, works for an itinerant theater company that has been traveling around Greece but can find no place to perform.


LANDSCAPE IN THE MIST The Films of Theo Angelopoulos: A Voyage in Time

by Evangelos Makrygiannakis

The University of Edinburgh 2008

The film starts with the two young protagonists as they make their first attempt to catch a train in order to go and meet him. After an initial delay they finally board a train without tickets, only to be apprehended by the police. It emerges that there was never a father in Germany and that this was a fiction their mother made up to protect the children. The children refuse to accept this and after a dreamlike escape from the police station they continue their quest. While on the road they hook up with a young man, Orestes, who is actually the mythical Orestes from Angelopoulos’ The Travelling Players 

Despite this, magic finds its way into a bleak presence, through the character of Orestes. However, the children’s encounter with Orestes does not follow the predilections of a preconceived fate. He is not the enlightened stranger of a quest fable. In the Travelling Players, Orestes was the signifier of revolution. Now he returns, but it is not from the point of experience. Once I thought I knew where I was going…now I do not know anymore” he exclaims during his first encounter with the children. Orestes cannot function as a guide towards the children’s goal. Instead, they drive together through the mountains, dance by the beach and wander round the square in Florina. It is these moments which are significant in the film, for these are movements concerning the effect that the landscape generates in itself and through the characters. These moments are brought forward through images that appeal to the senses like the one where we see the children facing a gigantic factory that stands like a fairytale dragon, or through images that stand as allegorical signs such as when the travelling players sell their costumes at the bay of Thessaloniki signifying the bankruptcy of the Left. The final destination becomes a symbolic image and it only takes a simple cut for the children to be transported to this new space, a space that is never marked on their cognitive map but acquires a material substance in the form of a tree.


Review Of Landscape In The Mist@ 10/11/2007 04:36:00 PM By Cosmetic – Copyright © by Dan Schneider

it won the top prize, the Silver Lion, at the 1988 Venice Film Festival, and the Best Directing nod at the Chicago Film Festival is the least of its claims to greatness. It is lyrical, realistic, poetic, brutal, and delicately tender. Just look at the scene where Alexandre, once found by Voula and Orestes, after working at the café to eat, hands his sister a sandwich, or the scene where Orestes says goodbye to them. Any Hollywood film would have had Orestes give up his dream of the Army and care for the children. But, in this world- the realistic one Angelopoulos limns, he acts in a real way, and lets them go.

The performance by Tzortzoglou is the film’s best




Los Angeles Times / MOVIE REVIEW : Angelopoulos’ ‘Landscape’: Cinematic Poetry

October 31, 1990


If I should shout, who would hear me among the armies of angels? 

Orestes in “Landscape in the Mist”

Throughout “Landscape,” we are always aware of life on the edge, of the uncertainty and fragility of most human endeavor. The children, outside a boisterous nocturnal wedding celebration, tearfully watch the last flailing agonies of a dying horse–feigned for the movie, but still terrifying. Their only benefactor is a buoyant young motorcyclist, just about to be drafted: Orestes (Stratos Tzortzoglou), a van driver for a failing, itinerant theater troupe–the “Travelling Players” returning from Angelopoulos’ 1975 classic.

A joyous but tormenting scene of repressed love is enacted to rock ‘n’ roll on a windy beach; border guards sweep murky grounds with a searchlight and fire into the darkness. A hair-raising rape scene takes place off-screen as cars whiz past an ominous parked truck. A huge stone hand, remnant of past Greek glories, is lifted from the ocean and vanishes, helicopter-borne, into the distant sky.




Review: Landscape In The Mist

There is a superlative scene in Theo Angelopoulos’s 1988 film Landscape In The Mist (Τοπίο στην ομίχλη or Topio Stin Omichli) that is amongst the best filmic depictions of sexual abuse ever shown, and should be shown as a primer to Hollywood directors on how to be subtle and poetic, especially when dealing with such terminally PC topics.

Yet another wonderful scene occurs when the youth, named Orestes (Stratos Tzortzoglou), finds a bit of film in a garbage can, and holds it up under a streetlamp, and against a white billboard, at night, and asks the kids if they see what is on it. The camera zooms in, but we see nothing but a gray mist. Orestes claims there is a tree in the mist, but the kids cannot see it. Then, Orestes admits he was putting them on. Not only does this scene illustrate how adult these children are, as they will not automatically say yes to an adult figure, to gain acceptance, but it also foreshadows the film’s end.

In fact, the scene with the snow is merely one of several which echo Fellini, another being an homage to La Dolce Vita, where Orestes is sitting on a pier, and watches a giant statue hand rise from the water, only to be carried away by a helicopter. That the hand seems to be made of stone, yet floats up out of the water is unexplained, and we do not see the helicopter wrap its ropes around it, yet it is a mesmeric moment in the film, for we know something wonderfully magical is going on.

In the Fellini film, a helicopter is carrying a statue of Jesus Christ as that film opens. Yet, in the Fellini film, there is manifest symbolism afoot, as the statue is used as a bargaining chip for the main character, played by Marcello Mastroianni, to try to score points with women, thus subverting the holy essence of the figure. In Angelopoulos’s film, the symbolism of the hand is less obvious, and several interpretations can be made, including it just being an unexplained interlude to give the audience a chance to breathe with the characters.

Also, the scene goes on far longer than the cut-happy sort of editing of Hollywood schlockmeistery would allow, with Orestes, then the kids, watching the hand shrink in size as it disappears toward the horizon, in yet another long and satisfying take. Thus, the scene transcends mere homage to the Fellini film, and crystallizes as an enigmatic and powerful statement in its own right, and a great moment in this magnificent film.

Soon after that scene is when they come upon Orestes, then split up from him, which leads into the abuse scene. But, before that, there is a great scene where Voula sleeps on Orestes’ bus, and Alexandre goes off to a local café to do some menial work, to get food for him and his sister. While there, a vagabond with a violin comes in, plays a tune, then is chased off by the owner. Alexandre claps at the impromptu recital, until the owner glares at him, and he goes back to work. It’s a terrific scene, again a Fellinian moment, yet somehow even deeper, because it is not too over the top, like some of the best Fellini Absurdism. When the pair meet up again with Orestes, in perhaps the film’s only flawed moment (too contrived) Orestes makes a deal with them, that he will help them reach the border town of Thessaloniki by train before he joins the Greek Army.

He decides to sell his motorcycle, after leaving his family troupe, and taking the kids with him. But, after he conducts business at a nightclub, Voula and Alexandre take off. Orestes follows them, with her schoolbag in tow. Voula is jealous that she is not loved by Orestes, as much as she love shim. It is dark, on a deserted highway, and the scene then climaxes as he holds the sobbing girl, who earlier refused to touch him when he wanted to teach her to dance (still affected by her sexual violation), and tells her it is always like this the first time (meaning her falling in love with him). The camera pans around them, and then the children take off, and we linger on Orestes watching them disappear from his life.




A Chapter in World Cinema: Ebbing Innocence in Theo Angelopoulos’ ‘Landscape in the Mist’

By Rituparna Borah

As for performance, each actor’s contribution is equally laudable: be it an expressionless Voula (Tania Palaiologou), an enervated-but-hopeful Orestes (Stratos Tzortzoglou)

Orestes is one of the characters from Angelopoulos’s masterpiece, The Travelling Players, which picturizes a theatre group moving from one place to another to stage a particular theatre. While there was a time when people were all hopped up about theatres and the theatre artists enjoyed a respectable position in society, today they are not even given a passing glance, let alone sponsors coming to their rescue.

This is only one of the many references to the apparent degeneration of values in society. Angelopoulos leaves the film open-ended; whether the children reach Germany or not is not known. In his concern we see the influences of directors like Antonioni and Kieslowski: going beyond the political, but through the political. However, the scene where the two children move through a stupefied crowd during the first snowfall and another where Orestes and the children witness the statue of a broken fist being carried away from the ocean by a helicopter are undoubtedly and delightfully Felliniesque!




[Landscape in the Mist] is not just about two children looking for their father. It is a journey which is the initiation into life. On the road they learn everything – love and death, lies and truth, beauty and destruction. The journey is simply a way to focus on what life gives us all.

Landscape in the Mist is an affecting fable about the human condition that follows two young siblings in search of their father. Refusing to accept his non-existence, Voula (Tania Palaiologou) and Alexandros (Michalis Zeke) run away from their mother and make their way from Athens towards Germany, writing letters to him in their thoughts and awaiting his response in their dreams. They encounter the troupe of itinerant actors seen 13 years earlier in The Travelling Players, who similarly wander the landscape in search of a venue to perform. Orestis (Stratos Tzortzoglou), the youngest actor steps in as a paternal figure, helping them reach the border. In their search for an origin, both children discover an unforgiving adult world – its brutality and vulnerability, its struggles and uncertainty – making the unfolding voyage a poignant and deeply moving experience.




Innocent Eyes –`Landscape In The Mist’ Is A Haunting Road Tale, By John Hartl

“Landscape in the Mist,” with Michalis Zeke, Tania Palaiologou, Stratos Tzortzoglou. Directed by Theo Angelopoulos

A helicopter raises a giant stone hand out of the water, and the partially broken fingers seem to beckon to them from the sky – and from antiquity.Very little of this is explained, but it is absorbed and pondered by the children, whose closest companion is a gay biker (Stratos Tzortzoglou) who works for a failing acting troupe and all but adopts them.




‘Landscape in the Mist’ (NR)

By Desson Howe, Washington Post Staff Writer, February 01, 1991

Theo Angelopoulos’s “Landscape in the Mist” is a beautifully filmed odyssey about two children’s search for their father.

This scene, executed with brilliant choreography in one shot, gives a palpable sense of overlapping life. Angelopoulos, who won Venice’s Silver Lion Award for “Mist,” paints and choreographs human tableaux in this way throughout the movie. His rich, canvassy point of view lifts the story to allegorical heights.

It’s revealed early on in the story that Voula and Alexander are on a fruitless search. Their mother (who they have escaped from) has merely invented the German story for quick convenience. But the children continue on, without tickets, passports or money, giving the slip to a train guard, then hitching rides with a friendly, out-of-work actor (Stratos Tzortzoglou)





October 1, 2015Alec Johnssoncold wareleni karaindrougermanygreat filmgreecela dolce vitalandscape in the mistlong takemichalis zekeoresteiaorestesrailroadrapestratos tzortzogloutania palaiologouthe traveling playerstheo angelopoulostonino guerratrainsyannis tsitsopoulosyorgos arvanitis

Even this film’s principal actors have a touch of obscurity to them, at least here in the U.S. Stratos Tzortzoglou (Orestes) has had a solid acting career, yet Tania Palaiologou (Voula) has only had a few other roles, all of them in Greece, and this is the only known film role of Michalis Zeke (Alexander), on whom the Internet hardly has any information. All three give dynamite performances here. It’s astonishing how much these young actors put their bodies into the task of fleshing out the lumbering gravitas of the journey, and the physical toll of time. It would be an honor to get in touch with any one of them today. As for the late Angelopoulos, he was and remains honored in Europe—having won the Silver Lion at Venice and the Best European Film Award for this—and has been championed by the likes of Scorsese and Kurosawa

The dance. Voula’s innocence protects her, somewhat. She’s been hurt physically, yes, but she cannot yet fully register the significance of her trauma, as she does not yet comprehend sex. Neither she nor the film dwell on her rape; she and Alexander abandon the truck driver and keep on heading north, pressing towards the border, eventually reuniting with Orestes. The assault is only referred obliquely, in two more scenes. The first is set on a beach, on which some furniture is set. Nearby speakers are playing a Western punk tune—of course, since as the kids go further west, so does the music. Orestes invites a hesitant Voula to dance with him, and he barely does a two-step before she is moved to run away and collapse in tears. One might think that she’s struggling to trust him because of what she has endured. But when one listens to what Orestes tells a concerned Alexander right after, another shade of meaning is added to the scene: Voula is in love with Orestes. The pain of her trauma doubles the pain she feels amidst falling in love with her guardian, and Voula—once an innocent blank slate—is transformed into a character of enormous depth and palpability. This is not least because—and I think she knows this—her romance with Orestes is doomed from the start, as he is older and intends to join the Greek army soon, and the later scene of their final parting is shattering. Oh yeah, and there’s that second scene, when Voula runs into a figure that has been called the antithesis of the truck driver, the other end of the moral spectrum, a figure of charity and honor. This scene, which I better not spoil, portrays a complex scenario of misunderstanding with little dialogue and provides a tremendous emotional payoff.




Greek Tragedy Lingers `In The Mist`, April 27, 1991|By CANDICE RUSSELL, Film Writer

Landscape in the Mist, shown at the Miami Film Festival in February, is a heartbreaking story about two children in search of the father they never knew. It is also a cinematic dirge for Greece and its people.

When the kids meet a bus driver named Orestes, his relationship to Voula is uncertain. Yet in press material given to critics, he is identified as a homosexual.

On one level, Voula is the child who loses her innocence. On another level, as the symbols of their country, she and her brother represent Greece`s quest for identity.




Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Landscape in the Mist [1988]

Along the road they face moments of gut-wrenching tragedy, as when Voula is callously violated by a truck driver, as well as simple joy, as in their motorbike ride with a young, lonely actor named Orestes (Stratos Tzortzoglou), and profound catharsis, as when Voula, who had been maintaining an impassive demeanour till then, finally breaks down in the arms of the young guy.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


 They meet up with Orestis (Stratos Tzortzoglou) a handsome young stagehand of a travelling theatre group. He has a bus and space, and so the pair quickly become a threesome. The trio split up and reconnect several times over the journey, but the more they travel together the more they develop a deep emotional connection with each other – a bond which makes the journey that much more difficult to complete.




Landscape in the Mist (1988)

Posted on the 21 June 2012 by Tjatkinson @T_J_atkinson

As the film opens, they attempt and fail to board a train. Trying again they succeed, and meet their uncle, whom they decide to abandon as well. Lost and alone, they encounter Orestes, a young actor traveling in a van whom they ride with across the country, as far as they can go, their desperate journey disappearing into the fog.

The second powerful moment I was referring to occurs much later in the film, and is already one of my absolute favorite movie images. I don’t give such an honor to just any image, but the ‘Hand of God’ scene in this film is certainly worthy. Orestesobserves something bobbing in the sea; it slowly rises and we see it is attached to a helicopter which is pulling it out of the water. We then notice it’s bigger than we thought. It’s a huge hand, perhaps the dismembered limb of a giant statue, and the children and Orestes watch in awe as the helicopter flies away with it dangling below. It is a silent, startling, wonderful moment.




During their life-changing trek, they meet the kindly Orestis (Stratos Tzortzoglou), who looks after them for a time. Eventually, the children decide to resume their quest



O. Favourite Performances from 1991 are…

Posted by skimpole on 18 March 2017 – 06:03 PM

Supporting Actor

Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda

Pete Postelthwaite, Distant Voices, Still Lives
Michael Palin, A Fish Called Wanda
1987 film nominated in 1988 Max von Sydow, Pelle the Conqueror
Alan Rickman, Die Hard

Substitute for von Sydow

Krzysztof Globisz, A Short Film About Killing

Runner-ups:  Harvey Keitel (The Last Temptation of Christ), Yaphet Kotto (Midnight Run), Eric Idle (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), Dennis Farina (Midnight Run), Robin Williams (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), Jan Tesarz (A Short Film About Killing), Francois Cluzet (Story of Women), Christopher Lloyd (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), John Ashton (Midnight Run),Stratos Tzortzoglou (Landscape in the Mist), Alec Guinness (Little Dorrit), Dean Williams (Distant Voices, Still Lives), Jason Edwards (Drowning by Numbers)




Up, Down, and Sideways, BY Michael Cacoyannis  / July 12, 2006 by EmanuelLevy

(Pano Kato Ke Plagios)

Dominating the comedy is Irene Papas, a middle-aged, prosperous widow who is sharing her elegant house with her handsome gay son (Stratos Tzortzoglou). Enjoying an open, most amiable relationship, mother and son also share great passion for the opera.

The three lead characters are always credibly vivid and sympathetic. At 67, the still beautiful Papas gives a charming performance as the open-minded, amorous widow–and dream mother of every gay man. It’s a welcome change of pace for an actress mostly known for essaying the Greek tragedies (Electra, The Trojan Women). The handsome Tzortzoglou and the romantic Mihalopoulos lend reliable support as the sensitive son and macho instructor respectively

Review: ‘Pano Kato Ke Plagios’ / October 4, 1993

Michael Cacoyannis emerges from semi-retirement with “Up, Down and Sideways,” an amusing farce about the wild and crazy inhabitants of modern-day Athens. Featuring his favorite leading lady, Irene Papas, and good-natured humor, it’s Cacoyannis’ first film since “Sweet Country” seven years ago, and his most accessible project since his 1964 international hit, “Zorba the Greek.” Focusing on the very contemporary, hip lives of a mother and her gay son, comedy has good chances for limited theatrical release.

At comedy’s center is Papas, a middle-aged, prosperous widow who shares an elegant house with her handsome gay son, Stratos Tzortzoglou.

The two lead characters are always credibly vivid and sympathetic. At 67, the still-beautiful Papas gives a charming performance as the open-minded, amorous widow — and dream-mother of every gay man. It’s a welcome change of pace for an actress mostly known for essaying Greek tragedies, including Cacoyannis’ films of “Electra” and “The Trojan Women.”The handsome Tzortzoglou lend reliable support as the sensitive son respectively.

© Stratos Tzortzoglou - All rights reserved