Landscape in the Mist (1988)

“This is fuckin’ ponderous, man,” as Casey Kasem once said. At 125 minutes, it’s one of Theo Angelopoulos’ shorter works, but it feels a damn sight longer. Uncle Theo is an advocate of the long take (his 1975 film The Travelling Players apparently only contains 80 shots in 230 minutes), and so much of the film is shot with long takes (and in long shot,too; the DVD is full-frame but the film looks like it was framed wider, maybe 1.66, so I watched it that way on the widescreen set). It took me probably an hour to finally settle into its particular rhythm and get past the film’s rather self-conscious Euro-art-filmness. Having done that, I found it a rather more satisying experience; Angelopoulos is clearly a master of the long takes of which he’s so fond. Still can’t shake the feeling that the film could’ve done what it had to do in about 80-90 minutes rather than 125, though.

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