Angelopoulos in Moscow to shoot trilogy

It was 2.30 a.m. and a massive Moscow bridge was sealed off by the local police. Coming up to the bridge’s highest point, you could see vans, generators and hundreds of wires. Standing in a corner, photography director Andreas Sinianos gave the final lighting instructions. Some of the technicians, in an effort to keep warm, kept boarding a bus that had been turned into a canteen for the occasion to get a bowl of soup. Greek, Russian, English, French and Italian all blended together on the set. A short while later, with the temperatures – -5C – testing everybody’s patience, director Theo Angelopoulos appeared. Everything was ready. Actors Bruno Ganz and Irene Jacob took a suitcase each, with a group of supporting actors of all ages surrounding them. Shooting for Angelopoulos’s «Dust of Time» began. The film is the second part of a trilogy, following «The Weeping Meadow.» Filming, which only started recently, will include stops in Russia, Kazakhstan, Greece, Germany and Italy. If all goes well, it is expected to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival next summer. At the same time that shooting began, the nearby historical city Nizhni Novgorod paid tribute to the work of the acclaimed Greek filmmaker. The event, marked by a full attendance of young as well as older Russians, featured the screening of Angelopoulos classics such as «O Thiassos» (The Traveling Players), «Ulysses’ Gaze» and «The Weeping Meadow.» When exiting the cinema where the screenings took place, the city’s film buffs were unable to hide their enthusiasm, while the coverage by the local media was also impressive. In a break from filming, Angelopoulos talked to Kathimerini, the only Greek news medium that was present at both the beginning of the filming and the film tribute. It is almost three years after our first meeting, when you were scouting locations for the film and the waiting has finally turned into action. It was so tiring and it took such an effort to reach the desired goal, that I could almost say that I didn’t realize how time went by. I embarked on a harsh procedure, with difficult filming conditions at night, with the snow and the cold. But I think that the result will do us justice. The movie theater that screened your films at Nizhni Novgorod was full during the tribute. I am very sorry that because of long filming hours I could not attend myself, but I am happy that this tribute enabled young Russians to get acquainted with my work. What made you decide to film your movie in Russia? It is a northern country with special colors. One often comes across architectural elements of different periods of the past, from the time of the czar to the Stalinist era and the post-Stalin communist era. Every period has a different color. It is obvious that it is a country with a great tradition in culture, especially theater. It is something that you see everywhere. It is also a vast country. It takes a whole day to reach the next shooting location. How easy is it to turn your ideas into reality when filming? It is always a mixed feeling. Things are never as perfect as you imagine them or dream of them. Reality is always hard and takes things out. Francois Truffaut used to say that we achieve 30 percent of our initial intentions. Although it is something of an exaggeration, there is truth in that statement.