Ulysses' Gaze

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Ulysses' Gaze
DVD cover
Directed byTheo Angelopoulos
Written by
Based onOdyssey by Homer
Produced by
  • Phoebe Economopoulos
  • Eric Heumann
  • Giorgio Silvagni
StarringHarvey Keitel
Maia Morgenstern
Erland Josephson
Edited by
  • Giannis Tsitsopoulos
  • Takis Koumoundouros
Music byEleni Karaindrou
Distributed byRoissy Films
Release date
  • 13 September 1995 (1995-09-13) (France)
Running time
176 minutes
  • English
  • Greek
  • Bulgarian
  • Albanian
  • Serbian
  • Romanian
  • Kurdish
  • Macedonian
  • German
Box office$42,202

Ulysses' Gaze (Greek: Το βλέμμα του Οδυσσέα, translit. To Vlemma tou Odyssea) is a 1995 Greek war drama film directed by Theo Angelopoulos, and starring Harvey Keitel, Maia Morgenstern and Erland Josephson. It is loosely based on Homer's epic poem Odyssey.

The film was selected as the Greek entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 68th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.[1][2]


Successful Greek filmmaker, A (Harvey Keitel), returns to Greece. He has come to participate in a screening of one of his earlier films and to begin a personal journey across the Balkans. After the screening is disrupted by local ideological conflict, A takes a taxi from Greece to Albania. Ostensibly A is searching for 3 undeveloped reels of film shot by the Manaki brothers. The mysterious reels could predate the brother's first film, The Weavers, which is believed to be the first film shot in the Balkans.

A's journey fuses his own memories, the experiences of the Manaki brothers, and contemporary images of the Balkans. A drifts from Albania to North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. He travels on a train, a barge laden with a statue of Lenin (Polyphemus) and eventually a row boat. Though A makes some acquaintances along the way, he never lingers. His search for the roots of cinema, memory, and the Balkan identity pull him inevitably towards decay and death.

A eventually travels to the besieged Sarajevo. He meets Ivo Levy (Erland Josephson), the curator of an underground cinema archive who had attempted to develop the missing reels before the war. A convinces Levy to continue his work with the reels. The film ends on a rare foggy day in Sarajevo. Ironically the fog protects locals from snipers and gives the city a rare chance to flourish. A explores the city with Levy's family. Near the river the family encounters military personnel and they are executed.



The film is part of Angelopoulos's trilogy on borders. It was his first film made outside of Greece. The film screening at the beginning of the film was inspired by a screening of Angelopoulos's earlier film The Suspended Step of the Stork. The dialog played over loudspeakers in the town square was spoken by Marcello Mastroianni[3]

The actor Gian Maria Volonté died during the filming. He was replaced by Erland Josephson and the film was dedicated to Volonté's memory.


The score by Eleni Karaindrou featuring Kim Kashkashian on viola was released on the ECM label in 1995.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ "41 to Compete for Foreign Language Oscar Nominations". FilmFestivals.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  3. ^ Portuges, Catherine (October 1996). "Review of Ulysses' Gaze". The American Historical Review. 101 (4): 1158–1159. doi:10.2307/2169647. JSTOR 2169647.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Ulysses' Gaze". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  5. ^ "All-TIME 100 Movies". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  6. ^ "Check Out TMA'S 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time List". GeekTyrant. Retrieved 2017-12-24.

External links[edit]