Road Sign to Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province

I recently visited Izmir and toured parts of the Izmir province.

Today I publish some of the photos I took in the small seaside town of Iskele (Skala in Greek).

The Swan is the symbol of the ancient Ionian city of Klazomenai

Iskele is located a short distance away from the city of Urla (Vourla in Greek), built near the site of the ancient Ionian city of Klazomenai (Clazomenae), the birthplace of philosopher Anaxagoras.

Goalpost in Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province, Turkey

The city of Urla is located 40km west of Izmir, on the Rythrean peninsula.

Fishing boats in Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province, Turkey

The small port of Iskele in the 19th century and early 20th century was very busy when the famous raisin of the area was shipped abroad. According to some sources, in 1910 more than 1,600 tonnes were exported to Austria alone.

The summer house of the Seferis family in Iskerle, Urla, Izmir Province

Many wealthy families from Izmir and Urla had their summer residence in Iskele. One of the them, was the family of Stelios Seferiadis, a lawyer, and father of the Greek Nobel Laureate Giorgos Seferis, who was born in Izmir and raised in Urla. The residence is a complex of buildings that has been turned into a hotel and restaurant.

Renovated house in Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province

According to the census of 1920, the city of Urla had 50,000 inhabitants; 35,000 Greeks, 5,000 Turks and 10,000 Armenians and Jews. Only 500 of them were living in Iskele.

Public Park in Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province

As I was walking in the small town, a local resident asked me in Greek «where are you from?» And he knew the answer before I gave it to him.

Houses in Iskele, Urla, Izmir Province

By the (breaking) sea wave: A «Fluxus Eleatis» Discourse

Κυριακή, 26 Αυγούστου, 2012

Mr. FFF: Παρα θιν αλος. By the breaking sea wave.

MM: I see Priest Chryses praying. For his daughter Chryseis has been kidnapped by Agamemnon who does not want to release her.

βή δ’ ακέων παρά θίνα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης…

πήρε βουβός του πολυτάραχου γιαλού τον άμμον

Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α34

Without a word, he went by the shore of the noisy sea (or ‘sounding sea’)

Homer, Iliad, A34

Mr. FFF: The priest Chryses prayed to Apollo to punish the Greek army, so that Agamemnon is forced to return to him his daughter, Chryseis.

Mrs. T: The deep sound of the sea is in stark contrast with the priest’s silent suffering.

Είπε, και την ευκή του επάκουσεν ο Απόλλωνας ο Φοίβος,
κι απ᾿ την κορφή του Ολύμπου εχύθηκε θυμό γεμάτος

Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α43-44

He spoke, and Apollo Phoebus listened to his wish

and from the top pf Olympus he rushed away full of wrath

Homer, Iliad, A43-44

MM: Apollo shot the plague to the Greek Army, and Agamemnon had to return Chryseis to her father.

Mrs. T: As a compensation for his loss, Agamemnon took Bryseis from Achilles.

Mr. FFF: Achilles is furious at the loss of Briseis.

Briseis returns, sculpture by Michael Talbot

Δακρυσμένος τότε ο Αχιλλέας απ᾿ τους συντρόφους του μακραίνει και καθίζει

μπρος στον ψαρή γιαλό, το απέραντο το πέλαγο θωρώντας,

κι απλώνοντας τα χέρια ευκήθηκε στην ακριβή του μάνα

Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α348-352

Achilles in tears strays away from his comrades and seats

on the beach, and looking at the vast sea,

unfolded his arms and prayed to his mother

Homer, Iliad, AHomer, Iliad, A348-352

Mr. FFF: Greeks of any age, starting with Homer, have a special relationship with the sea.

Mrs. T: The sea was considered to be the home of many deities.

MM: The sea was also a place of catharsis, a cleansing place for mortals.

Wie Meerekuesten, wenn zu baun

Anfangen die Himmliwschen und herein

Schifft unaufhaltsam, eine Pracht, das Werk

Der Woogen, eins uns andere, und die Erde

Sich ruester aus, darauf vom Freudigsten eines…

Wie Merekuesten…

Friedrich Hoelderlin

As upon seacoasts, when the gods
Begin to build and the work of the waves
Ships in unstoppably wave
After wave, in splendour, and the earth
Attires itself and then comes joy
A supreme, tuneful joy, setting …

(translation by David Constantine)

Wie Merekuesten…

Friedrich Hoelderlin

MM: I see the beach walking and…

Stephen Daedalus: Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick.

MM: Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells.

Leopold Bloom: I am wandering around, avoiding to go home. I am on Sandymount strand. Following Stephen’s steps.

(young) Gerty: It is almost dusk. Roman candles are fizzing through the air.

Leopold Bloom: I cannot get my eyes off her!

(young) Gerty: I pulled my skirt up and revealed my garters.

Leopold Bloom: I surrender, I am too weak to resist.

(young) Gerty: I behaved as an exhibitionist. Will I ever be as important as Molly is?

Leopold Bloom:  I behaved as a true voyeur. I am aging.

Mr. FFF: I like garters.

Mrs. T: The description of the episode with Bloom and (young) Gerty made the US Courts to ban the book as indecent.

The beach shines like a mirror, swallowing the confusion of forms, creating whatever it likes.

Here by the beach, I will be covered, in whole, by a layer of sugar, like snow.

It is a sin to be absent from the present.

Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, Mrs. Ersis’ Novel

Ο γιαλος στιλβει σαν καθρεφτης, καταπινοντας τη συγχυση των μορφων, σχηματιζοντας ο,τι θελει αυτος.

Εδω στην ακρογιαλια, ολοκληρον, θα με καλυψει σαν χιονι ενα στρωμα απο ζαχαρη.

Αμαρτια η απουσια απο το παρον.

Νικος Γαβριηλ Πεντζικης, Το Μυθιστορημα της κυριας Ερσης

Πῶς δύναται τὶς νὰ γίνει ἀνὴρ χωρὶς ν᾿ ἀγαπήσει δεκάκις τουλάχιστον, καὶ δεκάκις ν᾿ ἀπατηθεῖ ;

How could anyone become a man without falling in love at least ten times, and betrayed ten times?

Alexandros Papadiamantis

MM: I see the kissing-on-the-beach sequence where Lancaster and Kerr roll around in the Pacific Ocean’s frothy waves, lips locked as the surf washes over them.

Mrs. T: Lancaster’s sergeant (Milton Warden) with Deborah Kerr playing Karen Holms, another officer’s wife

Mr. FFF: The American censors deleted four seconds from that provocative love-making scene.

Mrs. T: From Here to Eternity was nominated for 13 Oscars and won eight, including best film and best director. It won rave reviews and became one of the highest-grossing films of the Fifties.

Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen,

dann wird es werden wie ein Fest.

You should not understand Life,

then it will be like a celebration.

Rainer Maria Rilke

MM: I see the beach swimming after sunset

Mrs. T: I have never done this.

Mr. FFF: I had a friend who rejoiced every time she had a chance to swim during the night. She could stay up all night swimming.

Τα πρωτα μου χρονια τ’ αξεχαστα τα’ ζησα κοντα στ’ ακρογιαλι,

Στη θαλασσα εκει τη ρηχη και την ημερη,

στη θαλασσα εκει την πλατιεα, τη μεγαλη…

Στη θαλασσα εκει…

Κωστης Παλαμας

I have lived my first unforgetable years by the beach,

There by the shallow and quite sea,

the wide, the great sea, there…

There by the sea

Kostis Palamas

MM: I see the Hotel des Roses in Rhodes.

Mrs. T: I like roses.

Mr. FFF: This is where I was going to swim when I was a kid. For hours on and on. 10am to 7pm. Full time job.

MM: I see the bay of Ladiko, near Kolymbia in Rhodes.

Mrs. T: Looks great!

Mr. FFF: It was even better when there was nobody there! Years ago, access to the bay was blocked and the man who had the keys was a good family friend.

MM: I see food and drinks by the beach.

Mrs. T: Allow me. First stop is Damianos Fishtavern, Ambelas, Paros island, Greece.

Mr. FFF: Wonderful setting, and dedication to serving good seafood all year round.

Mrs. T: It is amazing how different food tastes when you smell the sea breeze!

MM: I see food and drinks on the cliff.

Mrs. T: Second stop. Akelare Restaurante, San Sebastian, Basque Country.

Mr. FFF: Up on a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic, stands one of the shrines of gastronomy in the wonderful land of the Basque people.

Mrs. T: The place is full of the joy of life.

Η θέα

MM: I see seafood by the beach at night.

Mrs. T: Third stop. Ristorante Uliassi, Senigallia, Marche, Italia.

Mr. FFF: Now we are in the Riviera Romagnola, where the ITalians have invented the «beach without the sea». Nevertheless, in this riviera, where everything happens, where the high and the low co-exist peacefully, Uliassi does his magic. It is worth the trip. Even if you do not make it to the sea.

MM: I see seafood on a balcony overlooking the beach.

Mrs. T: Aristodimos Fishtavern, Pachi, Megara, Greece.

Mr. FFF: Back to the homeland. An unassuming small seaside town 40 km from Athens presents the goods of the sea in a way that honors centuries of eating seafood.

Κουκλι σκετο, με το κλωναρι συκιας να βγαινει μεσα απο την προβλητα!

MM: I see Death encounters by the beach.

Mrs. T: Disillusioned knight Antonius Block and his squire Jöns return after fighting in the Crusades and find Sweden being ravaged by the plague. On the beach immediately after their arrival, Block encounters Death.

Mr. FFF: Black and White. The agony of Man in front of the inevitable. But the sea makes everything look natural. This is why the sea gives another meaning to life.

Mrs. T: (reading from a book): «The whole beach, once so full of colour and life, looked now autumnal, out of season; it was nearly deserted and not even very clean. A camera on a tripod stood at the edge of the water, apparently abandoned; its black cloth snapped in the freshening wind.»

Mr. FFF: (reading from the same book): «Some minutes passed before anyone hastened to the aid of the elderly man sitting there collapsed in his chair. They bore him to his room. And before nightfall a shocked and respectful world received the news of his decease.»

“Prayer does not change God, but it does change the one who prays.”
Soren Kirkegaard

«The essence of truth is freedom»

Martin Heidegger



Ingmar Bergman, Swedish Film Director

Leopold Bloom


Priest Chryses


Stephen Daedalus

Mr. FFF, wanderer

Caspar David Friedrich, German Painter

Martin Heidegger, German Philosopher

Friedrich Hoeldrlin, German Poet

(young) Gerty

Homer, Greek Poet

Soren Kirkegaard, Dane Philosopher

MM, partner

Kostis Palamas, Greek Poet

Alexandros Papadiamantis, Greek Writer

Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, Greek Writer and Painter,

Otto Preminger, American Film Director

Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian-Austrian Poet

Mrs. T, gourmant


Akelare Restaurant, San Sebastian, Basque Country

Aristodimos Fishtavern, Pachi, Megara, Greece

Damianos Fishtavern, Ambelas, Paros Island, Greece

From Here to Eternity, A Film by: Otto Preminger

A Hole in the Head. A Film by: Frank Capra

Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite), A Film by Fatih Akin

Restaurante Uliassi, Senigallia, Marche, Italia

The Sea: A «Fluxus Eleatis» discourse

Πέμπτη, 21 Ιουνίου, 2012

Archilochus: Look Glaucus! Already waves are disturbing the deep sea and a cloud stands straight round about the heights of Gyrae, a sign of storm; from the unexpected comes fear.

Julia Kristeva: We are no doubt permanent subjects of a language that holds us in its power. But we are subjects in process, ceaselessly losing our identity, destabilized by fluctuations in our relations to the other, to whom we nevertheless remain bound by a kind of homeostasis.

W.B. Yeats: What can be explained is not poetry. 

First Steward: Good evening Mrs. T, Mr. FFF, welcome on board! Your cabin is ready. Is there something we can do for you before we show you to your cabin?

Mrs. T:  Good evening Mr. Gerassimidis! It is always nice to see you!

Mr. FFF: Good evening to you too! It is good to see you again! Are we on time?

First Steward: We are on time, and we are going to have calm seas.

Mr. FFF: What time is dinner served?

First Steward: We start at 8pm sharp. Shall I book a table for you?

Mr. FFF: Yes, please. Now you can show us to our cabin.

Mrs. T: How long is the journey?

Mr. FFF: Approximately 18 hours. Assuming the sea is calm. It could be 14 hours, but with all the interim ports of call the time increases significantly.

Mrs. T: Are we going to see the dolphins?

Mr. FFF: Only if we are lucky. But if we do, it is a spectacular ballet show. And the music of the sea with the humming of the ship’s engines in the background brings the experience to supernatural levels.

Ανωνυμος Ναυτης: Θυμαμαι την πρωτη μου αναχωρηση μ’ ενα μεγαλο ποσταλε. Τη στιγμη εκεινη που πραγματοποιουσα το λαμπροτερον ονειρο μου, ημουν γιοματος αμφιβολια και φοβο.

(Unnamed Mariner: I remember my first sailing on a big postale. The moment I was realizing my brightest dream, I was full of doudt and fear.)

Alvaro Mutis: This is how we forget: our affairs, no matter how close to us, are made strange through the mimetic, deceptive, constant working of a precarious present. When one of these images returns with all its voracious determination to survive intact, then what learned men call epiphany occurs: an experience that can be either devastating or a simple confirmation of certain truths that allow us to go on living.

Maqroll “el Gaviero”: I think I’ve exaggerated the true significance of the death of the Duc of Orléans. . . . There’s a monotony in crime, and it’s not advisable to have too much to do with it in books or in life.

Jon Iturri: For three consecutive days we stayed in Hotel Lisboa without exiting the room, which we had transformed into a kind of our own universe, where incidents of eroticism were coming one after another, with the only words given to describing our childhood years and how we discovered the world.

Alvaro Mutis: Because, of course, in a place like that, one experiences situations which are extreme and absolute. In there the density of human  relations is absolute. And there is one thing you learn in prison, and I passed it on to Maqroll, and that is that you don’t judge, you don’t say, that guy committed a terrible crime against his family, so I can’t be his friend. No, in a place like that one coexists. The judging is done by the judges on the outside.

Ανωνυμος Ναυτης: Δεν μπορω να καταλαβω κι εγω ο ιδιος τον εαυτο μου. Ειναι ωρες που νομιζω πως δεν ειμαι τιποτα περισσοτερο απο το μαυρο θερμαστη Τζοννυ, που ζει μοναχα για να τρωει. Ειναι ωρες που νομιζω πως ολα μεσα μου εχουν πεθανει και λεω πως η καρδια μου εχει σκληρυνει, καθως οι παλαμες μου. .. Εχω δει τοσα και τοσα… Κι αλλες ωρες παλι, νομιζω πως μεσα μου εχω ολη την καλοσυνη και την αγνοτητα, που λειπει του κοσμου…

(Unnamed Mariner: I cannot understand my own self. There are moments I think I am nothing more than the black fireman Johnny, who lives only to eat. There are moments I think that everything inside me is dead and I say that my heart is as tough as my palm… I have seen a lot… And then, I think that I have in me all the goodness and purity that the world is longing for…)

Mr. FFF: I have often pictured myself in Tangier, restless and subdued, loving it and hating it, looking from a hill all the way to the north, to Gibraltar, to the escape. Crossing the Pillars of Hercules, entering another life, another planet, another universe, getting away from all the mess. In this sense a sea journey always has this cleansing aspect. The sea takes away all the mess you carry with you.

Mrs T: Why in Tangier?

Mr. FFF: Because I still have this dream that I am in Tangier and I meet W S Burrows in one of the tea shops up on the hill. And then I get on a boat and leave him behind. We do not exchange a single word. We just look at each other and drink tea. As a matter of fact, nobody in the tea shop talks. They drink tea and smoke shisha. I wanted to ask Burrows why he killed Joan Vollmer.

W S Burrows: (we hear his voice through a cloud, but cannot see him) I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing. I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a life long struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.

Mrs. T: The sea cleanses, the sea kills, the sea destroys all evidence of a committed crime. The sea gives you refuge, the sea hides you away from the prying eyes of society, it is the protector of the all the runaways. Hide away, hide away sinful souls! But even worse is the running away of those who have not committed any crime, but run away from themselves. Even the sea cannot save them.

Headwaiter: Would you like to have a drink before your meal?

Mrs. T: I would like a bitter Campari with soda water, a slice of lemon and ice.

Mr. FFF: A double scotch on the rocks for me please.

Headwaiter: Certainly. Here is our menu for tonight. I recommend the grilled shark steak. It is as fresh as it gets.

Mrs. T: Did you catch the shark while sailing? I would loooove to have the juicy grilled shark steak with sea weed rolls stuffed with angulas. 

Headwaiter: I had these rolls in Bilbao, and I loved them,. Unfortunately I cannot offer them to you tonight. Could I possibly offer you instead boiled vegetables with mustard sauce?

Mrs. T: Of course, it was a long shot anyway! Boiled vegetables will be fine. But please hold the mustard sauce.

Mr. FFF: Shall we have a robust white wine with the shark? Like assyrtico from Santorini.

Headwaiter: Splendid choice, I can serve you «Santorini» by Sigalas, 2008.

Ανδρέας Σπερχής: Βεατρίκη!…Βεατρίκη!…Συγχώρησέ με.

(Andreas Sperchis: Beatrice!.. Beatrice!… Forgive me!)

W.B. Yeats

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!

Υβοννη: Τι συμβαίνει και δεν ημπορεί κανείς να απολαμβάνη πάντοτε τον έρωτα σαν μίαν ωραίαν οπώραν {…}, σαν ένα ωραίο τοπείον, σαν ένα ωραίο ξένοιστο πρωί, πασίχαρο, αυροφίλητο, γιομάτο ευφροσύνη, σαν ένα μυροβόλο περιβόλι, ή σαν μια καθαρή αμμουδιά, λουσμένη από γαλάζιο πέλαγος ευδαιμονίας; Μήπως δεν φταίει καθόλου, μα καθόλου ο έρως  (εξηκολούθησε να σκέπτεται μα αιμάσσουσαν καρδίαν η Υβόννη). Μήπως φταίει ο τρόπος με τον οποίον αντιμετωπίζουν οι άνθρωποι τον έρωτα, τόσον εις το ατομικόν, όσον και εις το κοινωνικόν επίπεδον; Μήπως, αν δεν έμπαινε στη μέση το λεγόμενον «αίσθημα» και η λεγομένη «ηθική», θα ημπορούσε τότε μόνον να είναι ο έρως τέλειος και απλός και εύκολος, επ’ άπειρον πανήδονος και απολύτως παντοδύναμος – όλο χαρά (μόνο χαρά), όλο γλύκα (μόνο γλύκα), χωρίς απαγορεύσεις, στερήσεις, πικρίες, διάφορα «μούπες-σούπα» και άλλα αηδή και ακατανόητα, όπως η αποκλειστικότης, η εντός του γάμου αγνότης και όλη η σχετική με αυτόν απέραντη όσον και μάταια ηθικολογία και φιλολογία;

(Yvonne: Why is it that one cannot enjoy sex as a tasty fruit… as a beautiful landscape, as a wonderful morning, without worries, full of joy, fresh air, as a garden full of perfumes, or a shiny sandy beach, caressed by the blue sea? Could it be that this has nothing to do with eros? < continued to wonder with her heart bleeding >. Could it be the way that people handle eros both on a personal and on a social level? Could it be that if there were no «emotional» component and the so called «ethical» dimension, that eros could be perfect and simple and easy, endlessly hedonistic and absolutely omnipotent – full of joy – only joy – without prohibitions, bitter moments, all the incomprehensible  nonsense like fidelity, exclusivity, purity within the wedding and other similar stuff?)

Mr. FFF: (reading from the voluminous novel «Great Anatolikos», of Andreas Empeirikos) Yvonne all of a sudden stopped crying. It was as if she saw a light, a bright light coming from a lighthouse off the southeastern tip of the coast of Ireland.

Υβοννη: Μήπως, μα τον Θεόν, ο μόνος Θεός ήτο ένας τεράστιος και παντοδύναμος Ψώλων και, ουσιαστικώς, υπήρχαν μόνον ηδοναί, διά του πανισχύρου Πέους του και του υπερπλουσίου Σπέρματός του χορηγούμεναι; Και μήπως αι ηδοναί αύται, τουτέστιν αι ερωτικαί, ήσαν αι πράξεις εκείναι, που επλησίαζαν ασυγκρίτως περισσότερον απ’ οτιδήποτε άλλο τους ανθρώπους προς τον Μεγαλοψώλονα Θεόν, τον απόλυτον Πλάστην και Κτήτορα του Κόσμου, τον απόλυτον Κύριον των Δυνάμεων, τον απόλυτο Άρχοντα των Ουρανών και της μικράς μας Γης;

(Yvonne: Could it be, that the only God were a huge omnipotent Phallus, and, essentially, there were only pleasures on earth, disseminated eternally by its powerful flesh and abundant semen? And it could it also be, that these erotic pleasures, were the actions that were bringing humans close to the Omnipotent Phallus, the Absolute Creator and Owner of the World, the absolute Keeper of the Forces, the absolute Master of the Skies and our little Earth? )

Stendhal: J’entreprends d’écrire l’histoire de ma vie jour par jour

Γιωργος Σεφερης: Μερα με τη μερα ζουμε τη ζωη μας – δεν τη γραφουμε.

(George Seferis: Day by day we live our life – we do not write it.)

Dimitri Mitropoulos: There is a plan for April 1052, a grand tour; travelling on a ship we will call on all Mediterranean ports, where the Philharmonic (New York) under my humble direction, will play, not on board the ship, but in the concert halls of the cities. The route is roughly this: Liboa, Barcelona, Palermo, Athens, Tel-Aviv, Napoli, Roma, Firenze, Milano, Genoa. Later we added Paris to the tour, which means that the whole Orchestra will get off the ship in Marseille and return to the States from Cherbourg on another vessel.

Mr. FFF: The ashes of Maria Callas have been scaterred over these blue waters.

Mrs. T: Why did she die?

Mr. FFF: Because she could no longer love. And life without the ability to love had no meaning for her.

Mrs. T: If you have the ability to love, other people love you?

Mr. FFF: Not necessarily. But you have piece with yourself.

Mrs. T: So you are saying that Callas died because she could not find piece with herself.

Mr. FFF: Yes, you could put it this way.

Mrs. T: Why is it so hard. if not impossible, to find inner piece if you have lost the ability to love?

Mr. FFF: When you lose the ability to love, you begin to view life as an end, the end. Death takes over the mystery of life and it no longer is a mystery, but a horrid affair.

Ανωνυμος Ναυτης: Δεν εχω ερωτευτει ποτε στη ζωη μου… Εγνωρισα χιλιαδες γυναικες. Ειναι ολες τους παντοτε ιδιες… Εχω καιρο να κοιμηθω με γυναικες. Γι’ αυτο το πραμα οι ναυτες με κοροιδευουν. Εγω δεν φταιω… Ειναι μια ιστορια που η αρχη της ειχε γραφτει στο επιβατικο, που ταξιδευα αλλοτε… Ειναι μια θλιβερη ιστορια…Δεν θυμαμαι πια τ’ ονομα της. Αυτο δεν εχει καμια σημασια. Οι γυναικες δεν θα’ πρεπε να’ χουν ονοματα, αφου ολες τους ειναι ιδιες… Ταξιδευε απο την Αλεξανδρεια για τη Μασσαλια με τη μητερα της. Ητανε κορη ενος βαμβακεμπορου, που ειχε ξεπεσει κι αυτοκτονησε…. Μου χαρησε ενα πορτοφολι απο ψαροδερμα και της χαρισα το Σταυρο μου… Υστερα απο τρια χρονια στο Μπουενος Αιρες κοιμηθηκα μια νυχτια με καποια γυναικα. Το πρωι οταν εβγαλα το πορτοφολι μου να πληρωσω, δεν ξερω πως, εβγαλε μια φωνη καθως το ειδε κι εγω αλλη μια, οταν ειδα ενα μικρο σταυρο καρφωμενο στη ρομπα της… Μπορει και να το’ δα στον υπνο μου. Μου φαινεται ομως πως ολες οι γυναικες ειναι το ιδιο.

(Unnamed Mariner: I have never fallen in love in my life…. I have met thousands of women. They are always all the same… I haven’ t slept with a woman for a long time now. One of the reasons the sailors make fun of me. It is not my fault… It is a story whose beginning has been written on a passenger ship, where I used to work… It is a sad story… I no longer remember her name. It does not matter. Women should not have names, as they are all the same… She was travelling from Alexandria to Marseille with her mother. She was the daughter of a cotton merchant who went bancrupt and committed suicide. .. She gave me a wallet made of fishskin and I gave her my cross… Three years later, in Buenos Aires, I slept one night with a woman. In the morning, when I took out my wallet to pay her, I do not know, she screamed as she saw it and I screamed back when I saw a small cross pinned on her dress… I could be dreaming. Nevertheless, it appears to e that all women are the same.))

Frederico Fellini:  I love shipwrecks. Decadence is indispensable to rebirth

Mr. FFF: A dear friend years ago was bragging about specializing in the hauling of shipwrecks. In his own sarcastic way he was referring to his need – of the time – to relate to women in the middle of a huge personal crisis.

Alberto Moravia: (on Frederico Fellini’s film «E la Nave va») What is brilliant,» is the intuition that European society of the Belle Epoque had emptied itself of all humanism leaving only an artificial and exhaustive formalism. The result was a society founded on a continuous yet contemptible melodrama. The other genial intuition is that of the fundamental unity of the world back then which was completely bourgeois or utterly obsessed with the bourgeoisie. This idea comes through magnificently in the scene where immaculate opera singers perform leaning over the iron balcony of the engine room as sweat-grimed workers cease stoking the furnace with coal to listen to the splendid voices.

Frederico Fellini: Opera has an insane aspect that is truly fascinating. Opera is a ritual, a Mass, a shepherd’s song…

Dimitri Mitropoulos: Here I am, on solid earth again, after an unforgettable sea trip! If you could only see me from a distance, how I survived these 19 horrible days on the lousy ship. But as you can see, I did not die; I made music and played bridge, trying to fight against the complete lack of comfort, the detestable food and the continuous rocking of the boat… I have thought of you more than one thousand times, I was sad, sad in the thought that it will be a long time before I see again the people I love. I wonder if my musical gifts and talent deserve this sacrifice.

Frederico Fellini:  It (filming) makes us regard people and things as if the whole world was a set at our disposal, an immense prop de­partment on which we lay our hands without asking permission. It is somewhat like a painter for whom objects, faces, houses, the sky are merely forms at his disposal. For the cinema everything becomes a still life without limits; even the feelings of others are something placed at out disposal.

Ανδρεας Εμπειρικος: Χτες ακουσα τον μεγαλυτερο μπασο του κοσμου τον Chaliapin. Τραγουδησε την περιφημη αρια απο την οπερα του  Mussorgsky Boris Godunov οπου ειναι θειος. Τραγουδησε και πολλα ρωσικα τραγουδια δραματικα, λυρικα, και λαικα. Και παντου θριαμβεψε. Τι φωνη, τι μεταλλο, τι χρωμα τι δυναμη! Σε κεραβνοβολει και σε χαϊδεβει συναμα. Μεγαλος αρτιστας ο Chaliapin.

(Andreas Empeirikos: Yesterday I heard the greatest bass of the world, Chaliapin. He sung the famous aria of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. He was divine. He also sung many other songs. He triumphed in each one of them. What a voice, what metal, what colour, what intensity! It hits you like a thunder and at the same time it caresses you. Chaliapin is a great artist.)

Mr. FFF: My grandfather was very fond of Chaliapin. He had loads of his records. But he had to exchange them for olive oil during the second world war. Primum vivere, deinte philosophare.

Ανδρεας Εμπειρικος: Πατερα… Δεν μου φαινεται δυνατον να συνεργασθω με εναν ανθρωπο σαν και σενα παρα την μεγαλη αξια που σου αναγνωριζω σε πολλα επιπεδα. Δεν ειναι αρκετα ανθρωπος για μενα. ..Λοιπον αντι να ξαναμπω στις δουλειες σου παραιτουμαι απ’ ολες περα για περα και σου αφηνω γεια.

(Andreas Empeirikos: Father… It does not appear possible to work with a person like you, in spite of how valuable I consider you in many areas. You are not human enough for me… So instead of joining you again in your business I resign from everything and bid you farewell.)

Ανωνυμος Ναυτης: Ζαλιστηκα. Ετσι οπως τοτε παιδι, που μ’ επιανε η θαλασσα. Τι ατιμο πραμα η ναυτια… Ξερατο, χολες. Γινεσαι μπαιγνιο, κουρελι. Τιποτ’ αλλο δε σκεφτεσαι, παρα πως θα ξεμπαρκαρεις, μολις φτασεις στο πρωτο λιμανι. Εφτασες; Τα ξεχνας ολα και ξαναφευγεις. Αρχιζεις να συνηθας. Νομιζεις. Δε σε ζαλιζει πια το ποτζι, μα σε χαλαει το σκαμπανεβασμα. Παει κι αυτο. Σου μενει να συνηθισεις τωρα οταν σκαμπανεβαρει και ποτζαρει μαζι. Εισαι νετα. Κανεις αχταρμα. Αλλαζεις καραβι. Πρεπει να μαθεις τα κουνηματα του καινουργιου. Καθε καραβι εχει τα δικα του. Ενας φορτηγισος ζαλιζεται σ’ ενα ποσταλι. Παραξενη αρρωστια. Φαρμακο… η στερια. Οι κουφοι, εκεινοι που εχουνε χασει την οσφρηση, δεν ζαλιζονται. Μητε οι τρελοι.

(Unnamed Mariner: I am sea sick. As when I was a kid, and the sea was making me sick. What a terrible thing … sea sickness. You become a wreck. You cannot think of anything else, but how to get off, as soon as you arrive at the first port of call. Have you arrived? You forget everything and sail off again. You begin to get used to it. You think you are. You change ship. You have to get used to the movements of the new ship. Every ship moves in its own way. A cargo ship sailor gets sick on a passenger ship. Strange sickness. The only medicine is the ground. The deaf, the ones who cannot smell anything, they do not get sea sickness. Neither do the mad.)

Ιωαννης ο Θεολογος (Αποκαλυψη): Και εδωκεν η θαλασσα τους νεκρους τους εν αυτη, και ο θανατος και ο Αιδης εδωκαν τους νεκρους τους εν αυτοις, και εκριθησαν εκαστος κατα τα εργα αυτων.

(St John the Divine: The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.)


Archilochus, 7th century BC Greek poet, from the island of Paros

Andreas Empeirikos: Greek born and raised in Vraila, Romania, writer and psychoanalyst

Mr. FFF, Greek, wanderer

First Steward, Greek, passenger ship

Frederico Fellini, Italian film maker

Headwaiter, passenger ship

Jon Iturri, Basque sea captain

Saint John the Divine, author of the Revelation

Maqroll “el Gaviero”, unknown ethnicity, hero in many Alvaro Mutis novels

Unnamed Mariner, in the journals of Nikos Kavvadias

Unnamed Millitary Officer, South American

Dimitri Mitropoulos, Greek conductor and composer

Alberto Moravia, Italian novelist

Alvaro Mutis, Colombian writer

Captain Nick, Greek, captain of motor ship «Gloria»

George Seferis, Greek poet and Nobel Laureate in Literature

Andreas Sperchis, Greek of Wallachian origin

Stendhal, French writer

Mrs. T, unknown ethnicity, gourmant

Voltaire: French writer and philosopher

W.B. Yeats, Irish poet and playwright

Yvonne, a passenger of «Megas Anatolikos»


Digging into a box with documents and photos I found in pieces a travel document belonging to my maternal grandfather, Spyridon Mavrogenes. I assembled it in one piece and present it as an object that tells a story.

Spyridon G Mavrogenes

Spyridon Mavrogenes was born in 1878. At the age of 37, in the year 1915, he travelled to Russia. I presume the trip had to do with his profession, which was to export olive oil and other agricultural products like Corinthian raisin (stafida) from the Peloponese to various countries.

Europe and the Balkans in 1915

In 1915 Europe and the Balkans were in turmoil. I have picked some morcels from the press of the period.

The New York Times, February 10 1915

In a dispatch from Petrograd, the capital of tsarist Russia, we read that «Constantinople must be taken» by the Russians. I remind the reder that Russia had declared war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914.

The New York Times, February 10 2015

At the same time, the Austrians are attacking Turnu -Severin, a major port city on the Danube, with strategic importance for Vienna.

Two days before my grandfather got his travel document from the prefecture of Thessaloniki, on 26th April 1915 in London, Italy had signed the Treaty of London, becoming an ally of the Triple Entent and betraying the Triple Alliance where it belonged. As a result of the treaty, Italy took over control of the Dodecanese islands.

In September 1915, the Bulgarians threw in their lot with Germany and Austria-Hungary by concluding an alliance. On October 6, the great Austro-German offensive began against Serbia and Bulgaria declared war on Belgrade eight days later. Bulgarian troops spilled over Serbia’s eastern border, and an Anglo-French landing at Salonika in Greece failed to blunt the Bulgarian advance. By December 1915, the Serbian Army had collapsed and was in full flight. The Bulgarians established a defensive line to contain the Allied forces in northern Greece.

Sunday Times, Perth, Australia, Sunday 24 October 1915

In October 1915 Romania decided to join the side of England, France and Russia, on condition that the Allies send 400,000 troops to the Balkans.

My grandfather’s trip appears ot have taken place between May and July 2015. He narrowly escaped the fireworks!

The travel document

The travel document

The travel document was issued by the Prefect of Thessaloniki on the 28th April 1915. What you see above is the front side of the document.

Front Side Left - Εμπροσθια Πλευρα Αριστερη




Προσκαλουμεν παντας τους αξιωματικους του Βασιλειου της Ελλαδος, πολιτικους τε και στρατιωτικους και παρακαλουμεν τους των φιλων Δυναμεων να αφησωσιν ελευθεραν την διοδον εις τον Κον Σπυριδωνα Γ. Μαυρογενη απερχομενον εις Ρωσσιαν δια … χωρις να εμποδισθη ή ενοχληθη παρ’ ουδενος, να χορηγηθη μαλιστα, εν αναγκη, προς αυτον πασα ευκολια και υπερασπισις.

Επι τουτω εξεδοθη το παρον υπογεγραμμενον παρ’ ημων.

Εν Θεσσαλονικη τη 28 Απριλιου 1915


Front Right Side - Εμπροσθια Δεξια Οψη




 Requerons tous les officiers,civil et militaires, du Royaume de Grece, et prions ceux de pays amis de laisser passer librement M Spyridon G Mavrogenis se rendant au Russie pour …  sans qu’ il soit empeche ni moleste par personne, et de lui preter aide et protection, en cas de besoin. 

A cet effet nous avons delivre le present, signe par nous. 

Fait a Salonique le 28 April 1915


Civil duty stamp - Χαρτοσημον Διοικησεως

The afficionados of this sort of thing will note the civil duty stamp of 5 drachmas on the top left of the document.

Its back is full of stamps and approvals, and also has the photo of the traveller.

The Trip

I will try to use the document to reconstruct part of the trip.

Approval by the Romanian Colsulate in Thessaloniki

The document by itself as issued by the Prefect of Thessaloniki was not enough. There had to be approvals by the other countries. As you see above, the Conculate of the Kingdom of Romania approved the trip on the 29th April 1915. It says also that a tax of five Lei has been applied and paid.

Approval of the trip by the Serbian Consulate in Thessaloniki

Likewise, there had to be an approval by the Serbian Consulate in Thessaloniki.

The trip begins on the 30th April 1915, as is shown on the stamp dated accordingly, by the «Passport Office of Railroad…»

The port of Prahovo, photo by Matt Lutton

From a stamp on the back side, I gather that he made his way through Serbia by railroad to the Danube port town of Prahovo. Today Prahovo is a small town of 1600 people.

The stamp on the document has a date of July 1915, apparently on the traveller’s way back to Greece.

Did the traveller follow the same route on his way to Russia, and then back? We will never know.

Drobeta Turnu-Severin in Romania

From there, 31 kilometers to the North is the town of (Drobeta) Turnu Severin, where he entered Romanian territory. There is a stamp from the police of the port in «T-Severin» to prove it.

Entry stamp in Romania - 12 May 1915

Most likely he took a river boat to get there, although there is no way of knowing.

Turnu-Severin in 1910

Turnu-Severin is a city built by the river Danube and at the beginning of the twentieth century was a significant transport hub, for moving goods to and from Central Europe to the East and the South.

«As a major port on the Danube, the freedom of trade facilitated the entry of goods by boat from Vienna and the exchange of material necessary for economic development. Severin experienced a steady economic, urban and social growth until 1972, when it received the name of Drobeta-Turnu Severin.» (Source: Wikipedia)

Old warehouses (1890s - 1900s) that once stored goods from the Danube river trade, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania.

The photo above, which I found in Valentin Mandache’s informative and specialized blog «Historic Houses of Romania«, provides testimony to the wealth an the might of the town back then.

Given its importance as a commerical traffic port, Turnu – Severin may not have been only a stop over. It is likely that my grandfather was using it as a port for shipping goods to Vienna, where he was also doing business.

From Turnu-Severin, the travelled went to Bucharest, where he got an approval to stay in Romania as the stamp dated 15 June shows.

Stamp of the bureau for the control of foreigners in Bucharest

I cannot deduce how long he stayed in Romania and when and how he travelled on to Russia and back.

Permit to enter Serbia

A little more than a month after he got the stamp from the Greek Consulate in Bucharest, he appears in the Serbian Consulate in Bucharest and receives a stamp so that he can enter Serbia. The date of the stamp is 19 July 1915.

Permit to return to Greece

The next day, 20 July 1915 my grandfather receives a stamp from the Greek Consulte in Bucharest, allowing him to travel to Greece.

Exit stamp, Turnu - Severin

Two days later, on the 22 July 1915, he exits Romania at the port of Turnu-Severin.

He arrived in Prahovo on the same day, 22 July 1915.

Four days later, and almost three months after he left Thessaloniki, on 26 July 1915, he exits Serbia, entering Greece.

There is no information regarding the date of his arrival in Thessaloniki.

As I cannot read Cyrillic, I cannot deduce anything about the traveller’s Russian itinerary and the relevant stamps.

Theo Angelopoulos: Ulysses' Gaze

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

Theo Angelopoulos: Voyage to Cythera

Ο παρων και ο παρελθων χρονος

Ισως ειναι κι οι δυο παροντες σε χρονο μελλοντικο,

Και ο μελλοντικος χρονος εμπεριεχεται σε χρονο παρελθοντα.

Αν ολος ο χρονος ειναι παντοτινα παρων

Ολος ο χρονος ειναι χωρις λυτρωμο. 

(Η αποδοση στα ελληνικα ειναι δικη μου)

Burnt Norton, Four Quartets, T S Eliot

Theo Angelopoulos: The Weeping Meadow


Theo Angelopoulos died in a accident on 24 January 2012. He was a Greek film director, producer and screenwriter.

Ο Θοδωρος Αγγελοπουλος πεθανε σε τροχαιο ατυχημα την 24η Ιανουαριου 2012. Ηταν σκηνοθετης, παραγωγος και σεναριογραφος.

As it happens with every great filmmaker, a lot has been written and said about Angelopoulos. Most of it is stereotypical and cliche, which Angelopoulos himself hated. As an example, I site his «left wing» ideology, that he was the filmmaker of the «defeated» side in the Greek civil war of 1944-1949. In addition, a lot has been written regarding Angelopoulos’ «sequence-shot», which imposes huge demands on the spectator, almost forcing him to delve into the image and its slow motion. Angelopoulos is notoriously difficult, but pays off handsomely the brave ones who can stand their ground in front of the ocean of slow images the director throws at them.

Όπως συμβαινει με καθε μεγαλο σκηνοθετη, εχουν ειπωθει και γραφτει πολλα για τον Αγγελοπουλο. Και τα περισσοτερα απο αυτα ειναι κλισε και στερεοτυπα που ο ιδιος ο Αγγελοπουλος απεχθανοταν. Αναφερω για παραδειγμα το οτι ηταν αριστερος, το οτι εκανε κινηματογραφο για τους ηττημενους. Επισης πολλα απο τα γραφεντα και γραφομενα εχουν να κανουν με τα παροιμιωδη πλανα-σεκανς του Αγγελοπουλου, που απαιτουν απο τον θεατη να εντρυφησει στα οσα βλεπει. Ο Αγγελοπουλος ειναι πολυ δυσκολος αλλα ανταμοιβει πλουσιοπαροχα οσους αντεξουν.

In his artistic development and path Angelopoulos followed a helix curve. Its description requires a separate article and I will not do it today. Today I want to focus on Angelopoulos’ treatment of time, a recurrent and self-standing topic in his movies.

Στην καλλιτεχνικη του διαδρομη ο Αγγελοπουλος ακολουθησε μια ελικοειδη πορεια. Και μονο η περιγραφη της απαιτει ενα ξεχωριστο αρθρο. Δεν ειναι αυτη η προθεση μου σημερα. Σημερα θελω να εστιασω στον τροπο με τον οποιο ο Αγγελοπουλος χειριστηκε τον Χρονο, που ειναι ενα συνεχως αναδυομενο και αυτοτελες θεμα στις ταινιες του Αγγελοπουλου,

Theo Angelopoulos: Voyage to Cythera

Part I: The sequence shot

Μερος 1ο: Το πλανο-σεκανς

«The past is never dead. It’s not even past»

Το παρελθόν δεν είναι ποτέ νεκρό. ∆εν έχει καν παρέλθει.
Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner

The sequence shot is one of the trademarks of Angelopoulos and a major tool in his treatment of time in his films.

«The sequence shot offers, as far as I’m concerned, much more freedom,» Angelopoulos explained. «By refusing to cut in the middle, I invite the spectator to better analyse the image I show him, and to focus, time and again, on the elements that he feels are the most significant in it.» (The Guardian)

Το πλανο-σεκανς ειναι απο τα ιδιαιτερα χαρακτηριστικα του Αγγελοπουλου και σφραγιζει την διαχειριση του χρονου στις ταινιες του.

Σε αρθρο της βρεταννικης εφημεριας «Γκαρντιαν» διαβαζουμε τη σχετικη αναφορα – δηλωση του Αγγελοπουλου: «Το πλανο-σεκανς κατα τη γνωμη μου σου δινει πολυ περισσοτερη ελευθερια. Αρνουμενος να το κοψω στη μεση, προσκλαω τον θεατη να αναλυσει καλυτερα την εικονα που του δειχνω, και να εστιασει ξανα και ξανα στα στοιχεια εκεινα που αισθανεται οτι ειναι τα πιο σημαντικα μεσα σε αυτο.»

Theo Angelopoulos: The weeping Meadow

David Jenkins in his BFI article, helps us with the way Angelopoulos is deploying the «sequence shot»:

«His stock-in-trade is the immaculately choreographed sequence shot in which his camera lopes ominously and gracefully across landscapes, through rooms, shacks, courtyards, over and around huddled crowds of people who themselves produce artful formations as they mingle within the frame. His colossal geopolitical masterwork from 1975, The Travelling Players (O thiassos), offers just 80 separate shots during its four-hour running time. History, catastrophes, celebrations, political intrigues, social shifts are rarely recounted in the traditional linear sense – rather, they are daubed on to a vast and elaborate narrative fresco.»

Theo Angelopoulos - Reconstruction film poster

Ο Ντειβιντ Τζενκινς σε αρθρο του στον ιστοχωρο του Βρεταννικου Κινηματογραφικου Ινστιτουτου αναπτυσσει τον τροπο με τον οποιο ο Αγγελοπουλος χρησιμοποιησε το πλανο-σεκανς στις ταινιες του.

«Το σημα κατατεθεν του ειναι το αψογα χορογραφημενο πλανο-σεκανς, στο οποιο η καμερα του με χαρη αλλα και απειλη δρασκελιζει νωχελικα τοπια, δωματια, καλυβες, αυλες, περιτριγυριζει συνωστισμενα πληθη πουαναπτυσσονται σε καλλιτεχνικα σχηματα καθως εμπλεκονται στο πλανο. Η κολοσσιαια γεωπολιτικη δημιουργια του απο το 1975, ο Θιασος, προσφερει μολις 80 διαφορετικες ληψεις στη διαρκεια των τεσσαρων ωρων της. Η Ιστορια, οι καταστροφες, οι γιορτες, οι πολιτικες συνομωσιες, οι κοινωνικες μεταλλαξεις, σχεδον ποτε δεν παρουσιαζονται με γραμμικο τροπο, αλλα στιβαζονται στον τεραστιο και περιπλοκο αφηγηματικο καμβα του Αγγελοπουλου.»

Part II: Beyond technique

Μερος 2ο: Το επεκεινα της τεχνικης

«Αιών παις εστί παίζων πεσσεύων»

Time is a child playing dice

Ο χρονος ειναι ενα παιδι που παιζει ζαρια

Heracletus, Ηρακλειτος

Theo Angelopoulos: The traveling players

Barthélémy Amengual notes in his essay «The poetics of History»:

«History dictates to the filmmaker his two major themes: time and remembrance. Time is the body and the place of History. Remembrance is the human form of time.  Remembrance is the clerk of time, but also its palimpsest. The last shot of «Reconstruction» reproduces the first shot. The traveling players ends in 1952 at the spot where it started back in 1932: the rail station of Aegion. All the actors are there, including those who have died or left.»

Ο Barthélémy Amengual στο δοκιμιο του «Μια Ποιητικη της Ιστοριας» σημειωνει:

«Η Ιστορία υπαγορεύει στον κινηµατογραφιστή τα δύο µεγάλα του θέµατα: το χρόνο και τη/τις µνήµη/ες. O χρόνος είναι το σώµα και ο τόπος της Ιστορίας· η µνήµη, η ανθρώπινη µορφή του χρόνου. Η µνήµη είναι ο γραµµατικός του χρόνου,
µα και το παλίµψηστό του. Το τελευταίο πλάνο της Αναπαράστασης αναπαράγει το πρώτο. O θίασος ολοκληρώνεται το 1952 εκεί όπου είχε αρχίσει, το 1932: στον σιδηροδροµικό σταθµό του Αιγίου. Όλοι οι ηθοποιοί είναι εκεί, ακόµα και
οι απόντες: αυτοί που έχουν πεθάνει ή αποχωρήσει.»

Theo Angelopoulos: The traveling players

«In Angelopoulos’ films time, which is nothing but the bedrock of every change, manifests itself between the start and the end of the same sequence shot. If the sequence has begun with the dusk, it concludes with the dawn. Like a river, if it starts flowing from a source, it ends at a totally different place. Time stems from and flows in fornt of our eyes, as we see a rose bloom in accelerated motion. The moment (in the context of the sequence shot) extends itself; we have to wait for the sugar to dilute itself first. After a while time is transformed (in the flow of panoramic travelling shots) by acquiring Bergsonian duration and, almost in hiding it is submerged in history. The present becomes remembrance; not a frozen dot in the past, but a moving unit of becoming, a gathering of being, of the group, of the world.»

«Στον Αγγελόπουλο, ο χρόνος, που δεν είναι παρά η κοίτη κάθε αλλαγής, εκδηλώνεται µεταξύ αρχής και τέλους του ίδιου πλάνου-σεκάνς. Αν το πλάνο έχει αρχίσει σούρουπο, ολοκληρώνεται την αυγή· αν έχει αρχίσει σ’ έναν τόπο, εκβάλλει σ’ έναν εντελώς διαφορετικό· αν σε µια εποχή, καταλήγει σε µιαν άλλη. O χρόνος πηγάζει και κυλά µπροστά στα µάτια µας, όπως βλέπουµε ένα ρόδο ν’ ανθίζει µε αξελερέ. Η στιγµή (στο πλάνο-σεκάνς) παρατείνεται: πρέπει πρώτα να περιµένουµε να λιώσει η ζάχαρη· µετά από λίγο, µεταµορφώνεται (µέσα στη ροή των πανοραµικών τράβελινγκ) σε µπερξονική διάρκεια και, στα κρυφά, βυθίζεται στην Ιστορία. Το παρόν γίνεται µνήµη· όχι νεκρό παρελθόν σηµείο, αλλά κινούµενη µονάδα τού γίγνεσθαι, συνάθροιση του είναι, του ατόµου, της οµάδας, του κόσµου.»

Theo Angelopoulos: The traveling players

Part III: When the cycle closes

Μερος 3ο: Οταν κλεινει ο κυκλος

The secret roar of the approaching events is coming to them (the wise men).

Η μυστική βοή τους έρχεται των πλησιαζόντων γεγονότων.

C Cavafy, Σοφοι δε προσιοντων, Κωστας Καβαφης

Theo Angelopoulos: Ulysses' Gaze

In «Ulysses’ Gaze», the Greek filmmaker «A», played by Harvey Keitel starts his journey in the Balkans in a taxi driven by Thanassis Veggos, a legendary Greek actor. When they stop to rest on a snow-covered mountain, Veggos says:

«Do you know something? Greece is dying. We die as people. We have completed our cycle. I do not know how many thousands of years in the midst of broken stones and sculptures… and we die…

But if Greece is going to die, let her die quick! Because the agony lasts very long and makes a lot of noise.»

Thanassis Veggos in "Ulysses' Gaze"

Στην ταινια «Το Βλεμμα του Οδυσσεα», ο Ελληνας κινηματογραφιστης «Α», που τον υποδυεται ο Αμερικανος ηθοποιος Χαρβευ Καιτελ  ξεκινα το ταξιδι του στα Βαλκανια μεσα σε ενα ταξι που το οδηγει ο Θανασης Βεγγος. Οταν σταματουν να ξαποστασουν σε ενα ορεινο περασμα σκεπασεμνο με χιονια, ο Βεγος λεγει απευθυνομενος στο «Α»:  

«Ξέρεις κάτι; Η Ελλάδα πεθαίνει. Πεθαίνουμε σα λαός. Κάναμε τον κύκλο μας. Δεν ξέρω πόσες χιλιάδες χρόνια ανάμεσα σε σπασμένες πέτρες και αγάλματα… και πεθαίνουμε…

Αλλά αν είναι να πεθάνει η Ελλάδα, να πεθάνει γρήγορα! Γιατί η αγωνία κρατάει πολύ και κάνει πολύ θόρυβο.»

Eternity and a Day - Film Poster

Part IV: The return of the father

Μερος 4ο: Η επιστροφη του πατερα

Forthcoming is already present and becoming is already done.

Το γενόμενον ήδη εστί και το γίγνεσθαι ήδη γέγονεν

Ecclesiastes, Εκκλησιαστης

Theo Angelopoulos: Eternity and a day

During the Greek Civil War (1944-1949) Angelopoulos’ father was arrested by the leftists and disappeared without trace. Young Theo spent days going to mass graves with his mother, trying to locate the father. Eventually the father returned alive. In one of his interviews, Angelopoulos recounts:

«I was playing in the street when I saw him coming from a distance. Instead of shoes, he had his feet wrapped in rugs… I called for my mother. She came out of the house without breath. I remember how they run into each other… we got into the house… the emotions were so high that nobody was saying a word… we were watching each other in silence… he was not speaking either… we were watching the father, we were watching each other… We had soup for dinner, and it lasted for an eternity. I was 9 years old.»

The Hunters - Film poster

Ο πατερας το Αγγελοπουλου συνεληφθη απο τους αριστερους στη διαρκεια του Εμφυλιου Πολεμου και εξαφανιστηκε χωρις να αφησει ιχνη. Ο μικρος Θοδωρος περασε μερες με τη μητερα του, γυρνωντας απο τον ενα μαζικο ταφο στον αλλο, ψαχνοντας να βρουνε τον χαμενο πατερα, που τον νομιζανε νεκρο. Μετα απο πολυ καιρο, ο πατερας επεστρεψε ζωντανος. Σε ένα απόσπασμα συνέντευξής του («Θόδωρος Αγγελόπουλος», εκδόσεις Καστανιώτη, σελ. 189) θυμαται:

«Έπαιζα στο δρόμο, όταν τον είδα να έρχεται από μακριά. Αντί για παπούτσια είχε στα πόδια πανιά… Φώναξα τη μάνα μου. Βγήκε αλαφιασμένη. Θυμάμαι πώς έτρεξαν ο ένας προς τον άλλο… μπήκαμε στο σπίτι… από τη συγκίνηση δεν μιλούσε κανείς… σωπαίναμε και κοιτούσε ο ένας τον άλλο… ούτε αυτός μιλούσε… κοιτάζαμε τον πατέρα, κοιτάζαμε ο ένας τον άλλο… Το φαγητό ήταν μια σούπα, κι αυτή η σούπα κράτησε μια αιωνιότητα. Ήμουν 9 χρονών».

Theo Angelopoulos: Eternity and a Day



I conclude this post wiht a comment I wrote on an article written by Nikos Xidakis in the daily newspaper «Kathimerini». Xidakis claimed that Angelopoulos was the filmmaker of the «defeated» ones. Here is what I wrote in response:

«In my eyes Angelopoulos depicted in his own personal and unique gaze the existential deadend he experienced, exactly the way he lived through it, conceptualized it, and formalized it. There is a hero in his films, the filmmaker does not deny this. He is a lonely and defeated hero, but not necessarily. Defeat is not always a given. Angelopoulos’ hero has many questions and is not ready to accept the «easy» answers. Whether he is searching for his lost dreams, like Manos Katrakis in the Voyage to Cythera, or lost pioneers, like HArvey Keitel in Ulysses’ Gaze, the hero has more questions than answers. Angelopoulos’ Word is also very important, it is a Pictorial Word. Angelopoulos’ shots transcend Time and Space, and interweave them into a mix that is difficult to tread, and becomes sometimes repressive. The fog and the drizzle are heavy on you. Your gaze is dampened by the endless snowed landscape. But as the old saying goes: «Every man carries his own sadness.» Angelopoulos was brave to share his sadness with us, and express it in his own way. He did this in a authentic way, without screens and covers. This does not mean that his sadness and its expression are necessarily accepted or liked. Deconstructing it or, even worse, trying to appropriate it as your own has no meaning.»

Theo Angelopoulos: Eternity and a day

Σε σχολιο μου πανω σε ενα αρθρο του Νικου Ξυδακη στην Καθημερινη, που δημοσιευτηκε μετα τον θανατο του Αγγελοπουλου, εγραψα:

«Για μενα ο Αγγελοπουλος αποτυπωσε με το δικο του προσωπικο και μοναδικο υφος το υπαρξιακο αδιεξοδο που βιωσε, οπως το βιωσε και το συνελαβε και το τυποποιησε. Υπαρχει ο ηρωας, δεν τον αρνειται ο σκηνοθετης. Ειναι ενας ηρωας μοναχικος και ηττημενος. αλλα οχι αναγκαστικα. Η ηττα δεν ειναι παντα δεδομενη. Ο ηρωας του Αγγελοπουλου εχει πολλα ερωτηματα και δεν ειναι ετοιμος να δεχτει τις ετοιματζιδικες απαντησεις. Ειτε ψαχνει τα χαμενα του ονειρα, οπως ο Κατρακης στα Κυθηρα, ειτε ψαχνει χαμενους πρωτοπορους, οπως ο Καιτελ στο Βλεμμα του Οδυσσεα, ο ηρωας εχει πιο πολλες ερωτησεις απο απαντησεις. Ο Λογος του Αγγελοπουλου εχει επισης μεγαλη σημασια, αφου ειναι Λογος Εικαστικος. Τα πλανα του Αγγελοπουλου διασχιζουν τον Χωρο και τον Χρονο και τους συνθετουν σε ενα μιγμα δυσκολοδιαβατο και πολλες φορες καταναγκαστικο. Σε βαραινει η ομιχλη και το ψιλοβροχι, σου θολωνει το βλεμμα το χιονισμενο ατελειωτο τοπιο. Οπως ομως λεγαμε παληα στην Ελλαδα, «ο καθενας με τον καημο του». Ο Αγγελοπουλος τολμησε να μας μιλησει με τον τροπο του για τον καημο του. Και το εκανε αληθινα, χωρις φερετζεδες. Αυτο δεν σημαινει οτι ο καημος αυτος και η εκφραση του πρεπει να ειναι αρεστος ή αποδεκτος. Ουτε και εχει καμια σημασια η αποδομηση του, ή ακομα χειροτερα, η αποπειρα οικειοποιησης του απο διαφορους.»

Theo Angelopoulos: The Dust of Time

The news item in today’s (19 January 2012) wires was very brief.

The watchman of the decommissioned (moored in the area  of Elefsis) vessel «Claudia M» (Italian flag)  died of a heart attack, at the age of 56.

"Claudia M"moored in the Sicilian port of Trapani, sometime in 2010

There is no mentioning of a name.

The dead man remains anonymous.

We do not know his nationality.

All the details that are ususally reported wehne someone dies, are missing.

Seaman's Book

Except of his age and his employment.

Do the details matter after all?

A seaman’s life is exposed to the huge risks created by the Sea and force of the Elements.

Most of the time seamen’s deaths are reported, they have been caused by naval accidents while the ship was en route to somewhere.

In Claudia M’s case, the ship was already decommissioned. Moored outside the port of Piraeus, near Elefsis.

The man most likely died surrounded by boredom, by the relentless pressure that Time puts upon us when we have all the time in the world and absolutely nothing to do.

Apparently, the watchman was  alone on board.

It is likely that he called for help, prior to departing from this futile world.

Officers of the Greek Coast Guard boarded the vessel, and transferred the man to the nearest hospital, where he was confirmed dead.

Claudia M in Livorno, in 2009

I write about someone’w death and I do not even know his name.

I do not even know the «good» things that he did, or even some of the «bad» things.

It is common when we escort someone to the outskirts of life as we know it, to refer to the «significant» bits of his life, his personality, and so on.

Obviously I cannot do that, as I know nothing about the man.

But I do not feel that I have to.

To mourn the loss of a human life it is not necessary to evaluate this life , assess it, criticize it, and make the whole thing worth it.

There is no «worth» in Death. There is not «ethical side» in Death.

Nikos Kavadias

Death cannot be counterbalanced by the things that the deceased did, or by the traits of his character and personality.

Death is not concerned about great losses or lesser losses.

Death does not count or weigh the good and the bad.

Death ignores and detests discrimination.

Death is the Great Equalizer nd the Master Annihilator.

And it is because of the equivalent powers of the Sea, that every Seaman has a special relationship with Death. They build this relationship during the long hours, the long days, the long months in the vast territories of the blue and grey waters. And they carry it with them everywhere they go. Until they make the last trip.

Dedication: This post is dedicated to the memory of Seaman Nikos Kavadias, who sailed for the Beyond on the 10th February 1975. 

Today’s post is food for the body and soul, images from Venice’s seafood market in Rialto.

Rialto Fishmarket in Venice

I love fishmarkets!!! As you can tell from a sequence of posts already dedicated to them!!!!

No words or explanations or arguments are necessary.

Red Mullets - Barboni - Μπαρμπουνια

Alici - Γαυρος

Sardines - Sarde - Σαρδελλες

Sardines - Sarde - Σαρδελλα φιλετο




Monkfish - Rana peskantrice - Πεσκανδριτσα


Eel - Anguila

Swordfish - Pesce Spada - Ξιφιας

Skate - Razza - Σαλαχι

Skate - Razza - Σαλαχι

Sole - Sogliola - Γλωσσα

San Pietro

Scorpion Fish - Scorfano - Σκορπινα


Scallops - Canestrelli - Χτενια

Scallops - Capesante - Κοχυλια του Αγιου Ιακωβου

Cuttlefish eggs - Latti di seppia - Αυγα σουπιας

Small cuttlefish - Seppioline - Σουπιτσες

Cuttlefish - Seppie Grosse - Σουπιες

Small Octopi - Folpi - Χταποδακια

Octopi - Piovra - Οκταποδες





Soft Venetian Crab


Squilla - Canocce