Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos died earlier today at a hospital near Athens. Angelopoulos had suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a motorcycle while crossing a road. He was 76. [Addendum: Angelopoulos died while filming The Other Sea, the third installment in a trilogy initiated with The Weeping Meadow and The Dust of Time (see below).]
Known for his deliberately paced, dreamlike films, Angelopoulos and his movies won a number of awards from critics and at film festivals around the world. In 1995, for instance, Angelopoulos’ Ulysses’ Gaze won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Upon receiving his runner-up award, a none-too-pleased Angelopoulos’ told those in attendance: "If this is what you have to give me, I have nothing to say." He then walked off without bothering to pose for photographers. Having learned their lesson, three years later Cannes’ jurors gave Angelopoulos’ the Palme d’Or for Eternity and a Day.
Among Angelopoulos’ other films are Voyage to Cythera,, Days of 36, The Travelling Players, and the slow-moving but unbelievably beautiful Landscape in the Mist. Angelopoulos’ final complete solo effort was The Dust of Time, starring Willem Dafoe, Bruno Ganz, Michel Piccoli, and Irène Jacob, released in 2008. Three years later, Angelopoulos was one of several international filmmakers, among them Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Manoel de Oliveira, and Wim Wenders, who directed segments for the omnibus feature Mundo Invisível / Invisible World, screened at São Paulo’s Mostra Internacional de Cinema in November 2011.
The fate of The Other Sea, set amidst Greece’s current economic turmoil and featuring the issue of illegal immigration into the country, remains unclear.
Angelopoulos was never nominated for an Academy Award. In a bizarre coincidence, the director died on the day the 2012 Academy Award nominations were announced. Four years ago, Heath Ledger also died on the day of the Oscar nominations announcement.