Film is not a radio play with lighting, it is not a filmed theater, it is not the illustration of a novel and not an opera, it is essentially thinking and telling light and no light. If you can’t handle that, you make all kinds of things, but certainly not film.
And this is our favorite movie. The Benchmark. This narrow line, this definition of land that no longer exists, is turning everything in a poem of light, the waters, with that shattered Lenin, remark the little man, they form a ridge of spiritual history. This is a flawless Swashmark, no other film has captured it to this perfection – the eternally surging Swashmark of history. The translation of the tide line, the surf line, and the sediments therein, reassembled with each branding.
Some things are stronger than the sea of time. It can move them, but not dissolve them, and so they keep on branding and the context increases into a marking of the „real“ spirituality that arises before this sublimity of the smallest.
That „yes“, what does not exist because it becomes a „presumably“. The „probably“ is so much more delicate, elegant and multi-layered than the „yes“. Because it opens instead of closing. But it is already the case that this film was perhaps the last and remains the only one, if he himself is one, the true film knows only Ulysses.
Before the first shot, Angeolopolus steps back from the surge of the light of Europe. He understood the magic of Europe and knows that he can only get close to it, no one will ever fathom it, no one. And when the whole continent is just a ruin, then the light just shines on all the dead, on all the suffering, and this light is what rebuilds the suffering and the ruins. It is the only thing that has never changed in thousands of years. When everything passes away, the light of Europe remains.
He shoots a film that is looking for a film. We see that questioned film in the first sequences – but is that the truth, this stupid ethnological piece of a movie? The woman at the spinning wheel acts like a film camera. She takes the wool from reality and processes it, while she cranks to fabric, like a camera. The camera as a spinning wheel. This motive will follow us from the first scenes to the last.
When he finds it, we land again on the beach, on the Swashmark of the sea of time and again a sediment surges to the coast of perception and again and again it tears the sea of time away again. Everything, with the light, for the light, through the light. We follow this fragment, so surely believed, of an abstracted perception long since carried off into lyricism. And before we understood what we saw, the journey already continues. The fragments become deeper and deeper, more and more unfathomable, more and more roaring and surging, until they finally come together in temporary dances of light, in order to immediately laughingly make off above us – and a new maelstrom arises. And a well known Melody from a far away shore hits our ears again and again. A new expectation an old melody, and the film we are looking for becomes ever more powerful in our imagination, a cascade of expectations, of travel, of nomadism.
If at the beginning we thought we were looking for a film, we realize it’s not the film, it’s Europe. It is the woman on the bull that we follow. And it is an eternal journey to ourselves, to the real roots of a civilization. Half the earth dismantled, in megalomania and presumption, destroying everything and itself. Until only this one small fragile hope shattered and left in an unknown place in the sea of time. And again a well known Melody hits our ears. Europe, you are a fractal. Europe, you are hope and the end at the same time, and nothing is comparable with you.
Oh, Europe, you would finally find yourself in all the suffering you have caused and endured for thousands of years. Finally, be able to look at your inner truth, which probably does not exist. To brew this up not as a tear-jerking story, but as a lyrical abstraction of light of such weight as Angeolopolus was able to do, that is cinema, that is magic, that is it. For this, we once developed cameras, projectors and mechanics, the screen as a multidimensional gate of the „probably„, it is an absolute unity of technology and lyricism – and yet, it is only light and not light. And a well known Melody, that hit our ears. And if we didn’t write about it, it would be just as fleeting as light, despite the tremendous capacity of this one film.