Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos was born in 1935 and died tragically in January 2012, in a traffic accident during the making of The Other Sea; this final film would remain unfinished. His was a cinema of contemplation, consisting of long, carefully composed takes, meaningful silences and hypnotic, autumnal landscapes. From his first feature film, Reconstruction (1970), we observe amalgamations of ancient myth and Greece’s troubled modern history, continuing in key works such as The Travelling Players (1974), Alexander the Great (1980) and Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), with exile from the homeland and return being recurrent themes. In 1998, his film Eternity and a Day won the Palme d’Or at the 51st edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
A longtime admirer of George Seferis and T.S. Eliot, the ideas and rhythms in their poetry often appear to seep into Angelopoulos’ own work. Written in 1982, a short while before Angelopoulos started on the screenplay of the film Voyage to Cythera, the poem ‘Leave Me At Sea’ (‘Ξεχάστε με στη Θάλασσα’) not only evidences literary influences but also hints at intentions for the film’s imagery and tone. It is the only poem by Angelopoulos that has surfaced so far and was published widely in Greek media after the news of Angelopoulos’ death. This English translation marks three years without the director’s unique voice.
Text above and translation of Theo Angelopoulos’ poem by: Paschalis Nikolaou
I wish you all health and happiness; but I cannot share your journey.
I am only a guest here.
All things I touch, they wound me
and then they no longer belong to me.
There’s always someone declaring ‘this is mine’.
I possess nothing, I once said. Arrogance –
for now I finally realize that nothing really is nothing.
I don’t even have a name;
I must seek one, now and again.
Grant me a landscape to look at.
Leave me at sea.
I’m wishing you all health and happiness.
© English translation: Paschalis Nikolaou
Published with the permission of Paschalis Nikolaou