Film and orchestral music composer Eleni Karaindrou has made a beautiful and moving statement with THE WEEPING MEADOW. A native of Greece, Karaindrou's influences are decidedly European, and within the music, one can hear the stamp of impressionistic composers like Erik Satie, avant garde innovators like Bartok, as well as Greek and Balkan folk forms. Karaindrou's music also traffics in 20th-century minimalism, creating tense, atmospheric spaces that feel empty and dense at once (one of the composer's frequently used motifs involves "patterns" that recall the tingling, polyphonic gestures of Phillip Glass). Although several themes are reprised throughout the album, the combination of ambient textures, folk phrasing (accordions, guitars, and violins figure prominently into several pieces), and lush orchestral work keep the music consistently interesting. The pieces are often set in a minor key, so a somber, melancholic mood prevails yet never feels forced or melodramatic, and the spacious, tasteful arrangements are in keeping with the ECM aesthetic.
A, a Greek filmmaker living in exile in the United States, returns to his native Ptolemas to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films. But A's real interest lies elsewhere–the mythical reels of the very first film shot by the Manakia brothers, who, at the dawn of the age of cinema, tirelessly criss-crossed the Balkans and, without regard for national and ethnic strife, recorded the region's history and customs.
Produced, directed and written in his traditionally episodic fashion by Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, the internationally produced Landscape in the Mist concentrates on a pair of runaway children, played by Tania Palaiogou and Michalis Zeke. The kids are en route to Germany, where they believe their father is dwelling. The adventures during their trek range from heartwarming (the kids are briefly "adopted" by a group of itinerant actors and by affable cyclist Stratos Tzortzoglou) and harrowing (Palaiogou is raped by a callous truck driver). The film's title refers to the kids' perception of the "promised land" of Germany. Landscape in the Mist was the recipient of numerous festival awards, including the 1988 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion.