‘Time is a child that plays dices on the shore.’
What turns out as running reel of a personal motion picture when one’s body and mind is confronting death? The memories of past runs through stream of consciousness providing the floating surface of life-time invoking contemplative picture that remains either half content, unfulfilled or incomplete. Theo Angelopolous’ ‘Eternity and a Day’ is one of that evocative film that gives you that experience. It demands your patience for watching mature and sincere cinema showing you the juggling journey of life shared by two exiled souls- an old poet going to die and an illegal immigrant boy without much of future. Both are haunted by memories of their exile.
This is once again poetry on screen bringing the resonance of life in its all subtlety. Here is a poet who abandoned his projects incomplete and having a single day to live. He encounters a scared boy on traffic and gives him lift to protect him. The journey of the day continues with the boy to make him reach his destination till the day ends. And along with that journey it brings the memories of lifetime that is at time shifts between present and past. Rather than bifurcating the narration of past memories and present with use of flashback as in most of conventional films, this one makes it one with use of brilliant magic realism like jump cuts that switches back to memory and present of the poet’s life where he rewitnesses his past in present for whole day. Since memory is something that stays with your present and not just ghost of past! The memory here focused on three important women of his life- the daughter, beloved wife and mother. Similarly the illegal immigrant boy is also haunted by past with loss of his friend.
The only film which invokes me something so close of an experience blending magic realism and memory is Fellini’s ‘8 ½’. That journey in the bus with company of torn lovers, a tired political activist and musician playing symphony and above all that alter ego of poet reciting the poetry ‘Life is sweet’, the letters by his wife, the hug shared between two unlikely exiled souls and the introspective visual metaphors with Angelopolous’s trademark long and slowly moving camera creates a journey so enriching and fulfilling to soul.
Ah it’s always memorable watching Bruno Ganz on screen…the man who always made me speechless whether I watched his ‘Wings of Desire’, ‘An American Friend’ or ‘Downfall’. I can hardly imagine any other actor than him here! And what can I say about this modern visual Greek Philosopher named Theo! Once again he transported me to the world or place which is something so beautiful, life affirming and grows me as a better viewer. How beautifully in the end he summed up the title of the film! The words have its felt echoes that left with their reverberations in mind- My little flower…stranger…Me…So Late!
This is just timeless.