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Ulysses' Gaze

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Ulysses' Gaze

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Long and heavily symbolic, with no desire to tell its story in a realistic style, Ulysses' Gaze is the very definition of a difficult film. Harvey Keitel plays a director who, after years of making films in America, returns to his homeland of Greece. From there, he sets out in search of three undeveloped reels of film made in 1905 by the first Greek filmmakers. Keitel's journey, which has some parallels with that of Homer's hero, takes him through several parts of Eastern Europe, concluding in the hollow shell of war-ravaged Sarajevo. Director Theo Angelopoulos loads his beautifully shot film with striking imagery, and, though Ulysses' Gaze moves less than propulsively, he pulls off the difficult task of not only making Keitel's search seem meaningful in itself, but making it seem an appropriate metaphor for the attempt to bring sense to a long century filled with personal, artistic, and historical upheaval. After stirring up interest at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, Ulysses' Gaze took a long time to make it to America, thanks largely to the present distaste for all but the most instantly appealing foreign films. It's well worth seeing now that it has.