|A day in the life of Theo Angelopoulos|
Theo Angelopoulos arrived in Colchester on a sunny day in July 2001 in order to receive his honorary degree from the University of Essex which is well known for the faculties devoted to the arts. I had the honor to get elected by the vice-chancellor of the University as the official interpreter during the graduation ceremony and his stay in England while I was studying for my doctorate. We met at the hotel where he was staying, and we walked together through the beautiful environment of the university campus near the lakes. During the walk he got interested in the subject of my doctoral thesis: “The Work of Art as Historical Event” (the book is published and can be found on amazon). He was accompanied by his wife and his younger daughter who was then studying in England and who was very happy for the honour made to her father.
After the ceremony, Theο Angelopoulos was asked to speak in a small room, in a more relaxed atmosphere to students of all kinds of nationalities who came to talk to him and asked him to sign the soundtracks with the excellent music by Karaindrou. The Japanese students were particularly pleased to meet the Greek director in person. They were all gathered around him to listen about his meeting with Kurosawa, and his discussion on the different nuances of the colour black with the Japanese director.
Ιn the afternoon, Angelopoulos’s family and I were given a guided tour around Wivenhoe, the beautiful nearby village, and other well known places which have been the subject for famous English painters. The director showed particular interest in Dedham which has been the subject of Constable’s paintings. Mr Angelopoulos was then a bit tired and unwell, however, he seemed very interested. I am not sure whether that was one of the few times he had visited England. He nevertheless made reference to the British art, particularly the latter’s contribution to the documentary film and he recognized internationally known directors like Peter Greenaway. His comment on England was that he did not like it in particular, especially that symmetry in architecture, characteristic of the country. Greek in mind and soul, Theo Angelopoulos did not fit in what he regarded as English aesthetics and mentality. More than anything, he made sure that in his overall stance he showed his pride in his national identity.
In the era of crisis and with all this outcry against Greece, perhaps it makes a good example and a way to remember an internationally acknowledged by the artworld, director. Of a man who was, indeed, passionate about his job and who sacrificed his life for art.