Eternity and a day

Theodoros Angelopoulos

Greece, 1998


On a rainy Sunday in Thessaloniki, Alexander, a writer prepares to leave his lifelong home by the sea. Tomorrow, Alexander is going into the hospital, from where he knows he will never leave. He finds letters from his long-dead wife Anna, and instantly becomes ensnared by memories. He realizes how much she loved him, and how he took her love for granted. Driven as he was by his passion for writing, he feels that lost moments of happiness haunt him from an irretrievable past. But he sudden meeting with an Albanian boy seems to offer the possibility of recapturing those moments. Alexander attempts to reunite the boy with his grandmother in Albania, and so begins a mysterious journey and a touching relationship between the writer and the child. Past and present intertwine as the veil of memory is lifted to reveal an ambiguous reality.


Theodoros Angelopoulos

April 7, 1935: Born in Athens, primary and high school in Acharnon St. School mates and good friends: Theodoros Angelopoulos, Alekos Fasianos, Christos Yannaras, Lefteris Papadopoulos.

1953: Athens Law School. He quits in his final year.

1961: He leaves for France and registers in Sorbonne (University of Paris) where he attends courses of French Literature and Philology, with the professors Georges Cidou and Mitra, whom he met again later in IDHEC. At the same time,  he attends ethnology courses with Lévi-Strauss. In order to pay his studies he works at the reception of Cité Universitaire (on hourly wage) along with the sculptor Gerassimos Sklavos. He enters after certain exams the famous cinema school IDHEC. After a disagreement and an argument with his professor of film direction, he quits his studies before his graduation.

1963-64: He continues his studies at the “Musée de l’homme” next to the ethnologist and film director Jean Rouch, who introduces him to the genre of cinéma direct.

1964: He returns to Greece. His coming back to the homeland was accompanied by his unjustifiable beating by the police, as he was walking unconcerned. This episode had an impact on him and changed his mood and plans. Then, the film director Tonia Marketaki suggested he’d cooperate with the newspaper Democratic Change as a film critic. His decision to stay in Greece and keep his job of a critic instead of returning to France, as was expected, was a great surprise for everyone – for him as well.

1965: The pop group “The Forminx” (Vangelis Papathanassiou and his brother and manager of the group, Nikos) suggested to him to shoot a film on their tour in America. Then, Angelopoulos made his first shooting in Thessaloniki, at the venue “Palais de Sport”, at the group’s concert, in front of 8,000 funs. Their tour was cancelled and the film about “The Forminx” never finished.

1968: He shoots the short film Broadcast. This was first participation at Thessaloniki Film Festival. The film won the film critics’ award.

1969: On September 1, the first issue of the legendary magazine Synhronos Kinimatografos is published. Co-founders: Theo Angelopoulos along with Vassilis Rafailidis. Both of them contributed in the idea of planning and implementing of a magazine on cinema theory, commenting on the contemporary avant garde. Members of the editorial team: Tonis Likouressis, Giorgos Korras, Lakis Papastathis, Kostas Sfikas, Roula Mitropoulou, Ritsa Dakou. Co-ordination and realization: Pantelis Voulgaris.

1970: Reconstitution. A triumph of awards at Thessaloniki Film Festival.  Georges Sadoul prize for the best film shown in France in 1971. Best foreign film in Hyères Festival (1971). Special mention by FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) at the Berlin Film Festival (1971).

1972: “Days of ’36.” Award for direction and cinematography at Thessaloniki Film Festival. FIPRESCI award at Berlinale (1972).

1974-75: The Travelling Players. Thirteen awards. FIPRESCI award In Cannes (1975). More awards in Taormina, Berlin (Interfilm award), London (1979, best film of the year), Japan, Thessaloniki (1975, best film, best direction, best screenplay, best actor in a leading role, best actress in a leading role, Hellenic Association of Film Critics). Best film of the decade 1970-1980 by the Italian Film Critics Association. One of the best films in the history of the world cinema according to FIPRESCI.

1977: The Hunters. Official selection in Cannes Film Festival. Best Film at the Chicago Film Festival. Award by the Turkish Film Critics Association.

1979: During the shooting of “Alexander the Great” he meets Phoebe Economopoulou, a production manager, who was his life companion until the end.

1980: Alexander the Great. Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, in addition to FIPRESCI and Cinema Nuovo awards at the same festival. Award by the Hellenic Film Critics Association at Thessaloniki Film Festival.

1980: His first daughter Anna is born.

1981: Village One, Inhabitant One (duration: 20’). TV production for the state television channel YENED. The plot revolves around the abandonment of the village of Nea Sevastia in the prefecture of Thessaloniki from its last inhabitant.

1982: His second daughter Katerina is born.

1983: Athens. A different Athens. Part of history and the personal myth of the director (duration: 43’). Poetry by George Seferis and Tassos Livaditis. Music: Hadjidakis, Kilaidonis, Savvopoulos.

1984: Voyage to Cythera. Screenplay Award in Cannes Film Festival. State Awards for Best Film, Screenplay, Male Actor in a Leading Role, Female Actress in a Leading Role, Set Design, Critics Award at Rio de Janeiro Film Festival (1984).

1985: His third daughter Eleni is born.

1985: “Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Ministry of Culture of the French Republic.

1986: The Beekeeper.

1988: Landscape in the Mist. Silver Lion in Venice. Félix award for Best European Film.

1991: The Suspended Step of the Stork. Official selection at Cannes Film Festival.

1992: “Légion d’honneur” medal recipient by the French Republic.

1995: Ulysses’ Gaze. Grand Jury Prize and FIPRESCI award at Cannes Film Festival. Best film of the year, Félix of the critics.

1995: Honorary Doctorate, University of Brussels.

1997: “Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Centre National de la Cinematographie, France.

1998: Eternity and a Day. Palme d’Or and Prix Ecumenique at Cannes Film Festival.

1999: “Officier de la legion d’honneur”, from the President of the French Republic.

1999: Doctor Honoris Causa, University “Universite Paris X Nanterre.”

2001: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Essex.

2004: Doctor Honoris Cause, University “Stendhal-Grenoble 3”, France.

2004: Trilogy I: The Weeping Meadow. FIPRESCI Award for Best Film in Europe for 2004.

2005: Medal recipient “Grande Officiale del Ordine al Merito della Repubblica

Italiana,” by the president of the Italian Republic in Rome.

2007: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Sheffield, England.

2007: His first grandson Thodoris is born.

2008: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Rome, Italy.

2008: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Western Macedonia, Greece.

2009: Trilogy II: The Dust of Time, official selection at the Berlin Film Festival.

2009: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of the Aegean, Greece.

2010: Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Smyrna, Turkey.

2011: Career Award “Viareggio Europa Cinema 2011,” awarded by the president of the local authority of the Tuscany region, Enrico Rossi.


Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos

Writing Credits: Theodoros Angelopoulos (idea and scenario), Petros Markaris, Tonino Guerra

Cinematography: Giorgos Arvanitis,Andreas Sinanos

Editing: Yannis Tsitsopoulos

Music: Eleni Karaindrou

Sound: Bernard Leroux – Nikos Papadimitriou, James Seddon, Kostas Varympopiotis

Sets: Costas Dimitriadis, Giorgos Ziakas

Make up: Giannis Pamoukis

Costumes: Giorgos Patsas

Producers: Theodoros Angelopoulos, Phoebe Economopoulos, Richard Hawley, Eric Heumann, Amedeo Pagani, Giorgio Silvagni

Production: Paradis Films, International S.A., La Sept Cinema, CANAL +, Classic SRL, Istituto Luce, Greek Film Center, WDR&ARTE

Duration: 132′

Color: Color

Bruno Ganz – Alexander
Isabelle Renauld – Anna
Fabrizio Bentivoglio – The Poet
Achileas Skevis – The Child
Alexandra Ladikou – Anna’s Mother
Despina Bebedelli – Alexandre’s Mother
Eleni Gerasimidou – Urania
Iris Chatziantoniou – Alexander’s Daughter
Nikos Kouros – Anna’s Uncle
Alekos Oudinotis – Anna’s Father
Nikolas Kolovos – The Doctor (as Nikos Kolovos)

Golden Palm Cannes Film Festival, 1998


Αngelopoulos, Τheo, Eternity and a day. Athens: Kastaniotis, 1998 (screenplays)

Eternity and a day: 39th Thessaloniki International Film Festival Catalogue

Horton, Andrew (ed), The Films of Theo Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997

Horton, Andrew, The Last Modernist: The Films of Theo Angelopoulos. Westport, Connecticut, 1997

Koutsourakis, Angelos & Steven, Mark (eds.). The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015

Makrygiannakis, Evangelos Films of Theo Angelopoulos: a voyage in time, PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2009

Skopeteas Ioannis, ‘Statistics and Cultural Context in Theo Angelopoulos’s Camerawork: The Case of the Film Eternity and a Day’, Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies, (3), 2015.

Soldatos, Giannis. History of Greek Cinema : 1990-2000, 10th ed, vol. 3, Athens : Aegokeros, 2002

Stathi, Irini (ed.) Βλέμματα στον Κόσμου του Θόδωρου Αγγελόπουλου, (Gazes at Thodorou Angelopoulos’s world) Proceedings of International Symposium 11 – 12 November 2000 Thessaloniki, Athens: Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 2000



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