Vol.9, No.2 | [Article] Disappearing Images of the Sea in Theo Angelopoulos’ Last Films



This paper proposes to explore how the progressive disappearance of images of the sea in Theo Angelopoulos’ last films (from Ulysses’ Gaze, 1995, to The Dust of Time, 2008) reflects a turning point in the filmmaker’s geographical, intertextual, and historiographical choices. Critical concepts borrowed from Hayden White, Paul Ricoeur, and Fernand Braudel help shed a new light on the historical narrative presented in Angelopoulos’ last films to align the dramatic episodes of the Greek diasporas’ returns from the “Eastern” shores with the failture of modern ideologies in Greece and Europe throughout the twentieth century. First rejected as witnesses or reminders of the demise of the idea of a Greater Greece, images of the sea become less and less visible in Angelopoulos’ films so as to gain a reflexive and metaphorical function. Their absence in Angelopoulos’ last film confirms that Greek history of traumatic events and impossible returns has now been replaced by the Eurocentric narrative.