- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- ‘«Ň GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ‘«Ň ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- ŐEDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- ‘«Ň MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
Greece, 1975


Directed by: Theo Angelopoulos. Screenplay: Director of Photography: Giorgos Arvanitis. Production designer: Mikes Karapiperis. Costume designer: Giorgos Patsas. Music: Loukianos Kilaidonis. Film editing: Takis Davlopoulos, Giorgos Triantafyllou. Cast: Eva Kotamanidou (Electra), Aliki Georgouli (Mother), Stratos Pahis (Father), Maria Vassiliou (Chrisothemis), Vangelis Kazan (Aegisthus), Petros Zarkadis (Orestes), Kyriakos Katrivanos (Pylades), Gregoris Evangelatos (Poet). Producer: Giorgos Papalios. Duration: 230 minutes. Colour. FIPRESCI Award at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. Awards for: Best Film, Direction, Screenplay, Best Leading Actor, (Vangelis Kazan), Best Leading Actress (Eva Kotamanidou) at the 1975 Thessaloniki Film Festival. Awarded the Best Film for the 1971-1980 decade by the Italian Critics’ Association.

The film is about the adventures of a travelling group of actors performing Golfo (a traditional Greek play) from 1939 until 1952. Greece’s political history and the actors’ lives are interwoven. While witnessing the last days of Metaxas dictatorship, the beginning of the Second World War, the German occupation, the Liberation, the arrival of the English and the Americans and the Civil War, the adventures of Orestes’ family remind us of the central core of the Atreides myth. The father is executed by the Germans after he is turned in by his wife’s lover. Later, Electra, his sister, helps Orestes, who is a partisan of the Communist Party, kill their mother and Aegisthus, her lover. During a military operation in the middle of the Civil War, Orestes is also executed. Electra is the central hero of the film and the only member of the family who stays alive. At the end of the film, we see her taking care of Orestes, the son of her younger sister who was married to an American officer.

"The original idea was about a group of performers travelling throughout the Greek provinces; a journey in Greece and its history. Later, other elements came to bind to this rough idea: the tying them into, for instance, the heroes of the Atreides myth. Intrigue was ready-made: father, son, daughters, lover… the power… their children… murders… These function both as a myth and as a real story. Therefore, I was departing from the construction of the story – the film would be placed in a historical period (1939-1952) full of events and sentiments/ emotions – since, at the outset, I had decided that I would not make it a history book, that I would not film on the grounds of making history. The myth of the Atreides family helped me regard the group as a prism and look at this historic period through it. […] The myth in the film is not very heavy. There are no names. There is no Agamemnon, Elektra, Pylades etc; nor is there a Nick or a Paul. The only name mentioned is Orestes. To me, Orestes represents more an idea than an individual. It is the idea of the revolution towards which all heroes lean. Many of the film’s characters have an almost love affair with Orestes; a relationship indicating the love for the idea of revolution itself. Orestes is the only hero who remains scrupulous; the only one who consistently stands up for his ideals and sacrifices his life for them.

Theo Angelopoulos
Contemporary Cinema ‘74, issue no. 1, August-September 1974.


From 1939 to 1952, The Travelling Players travel through time performing Golfo, they live their personal stories based on the archetypal myth of Atreides and traverse History as complex individuals of a cultural discourse (Golfo) and of an oedipal relationship (Atreides). The group – eye-witness and subject of History at the same time – cuts the narrative’s sequence and replaces it with an "epic" –in the Brechtian sense – a narrative, constructed on the known myth of Atreides. The family of Orestes, through the classical form of tragedy, reconstructs the historic framework of its times. The omnipresent "Golfo" – another (almost) cultural archetype – comments on the two successive stories: the Atreides’ story and History.
Agamemnon, betrayed to the Germans by Aegisthus, is executed; Aegisthus, Clytemnestra’s lover, is a supporter of the dictatorship and a informer for the Germans; Clytemnestra is Aegisthus’ lover; Orestes, matricide and murderer, a partisan of the mountains, who avenges, both on the level of tragedy and the political level, his father’s death. Electra, Orestes’ sister, is a left-winger, who helps Orestes kill the adulterers. Pylades is Orestes’ friend and a communist. Chrisothemis (a character borrowed from Sophocles) is the Poet and young Orestes are the only characters who are not direct descendants of the Atreides family. Without overthrowing or undermining the tragic story, they help the narrative along by lending their images to historically fixed roles. Chrisothemis is a person who yields in order to survive; a person who accepts and profits from foreign aid (English and American). The Poet is a visionary and not very realistic about the revolution, a tragic commentator of the Left’s defeat. Young Orestes, instructed by Electra (by 1952 she becomes the leader of the troupe) enters the troupe of performers and History. He continues the performances Golfo (a symbol of national independence) in spite of imported fox trots and Marshall Plans.

From the catalogue Twenty-five Years of Greek Cinema, Athens 1985