BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

29 October 2014
Stoke & StaffordshireStoke & Staffordshire

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Stoke & Staffs
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near stoke

Black Country

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire Films »
Staffordshire cinema listings:
Film or Cinema
The Travelling Players
15The Travelling Players (O Thiassos) (1976)

updated 05 November 2003
reviewer's rating
3 out of 5
Reviewed by Jamie Russell

Theo Angelopoulos
Theo Angelopoulos
Eva Kotamanidou
Aliki Georgouli
Stratos Pahis
Maria Vassiliou
230 minutes
07 November 2003
World Cinema
Web Links
NFT site

Hailed as a masterpiece when it was first released in the UK in 1976, this magisterial four-hour epic has rarely been seen since. Perhaps that's because its austere narrative, about a troupe of itinerant theatre actors wandering through Greece during the Nazi invasion, and its aftermath, is so deliberately diffuse that it becomes more of an endurance test than a pleasure.


Without bending to the demands of conventional dramatic narrative, director Theo Angelopoulos offers an epic vision of Greek history. He uses this theatre troupe's attempts to stage a production of folk drama Golfo The Shepherdess as the focus, then spins off to deal with the Nazi occupation, the ensuing post-war infighting between monarchists and Marxists, and a general sense of the dangers of totalitarianism.

Shooting in long takes, eschewing close ups in favour of moving his camera through a series of beautifully choreographed dances through space while the action takes place around - rather than in front of - it, Angelopoulos delivers a fractured film that's more confusing than emotionally involving.


Even the characters are kept distant. Nameless, quiet and barely even given identities, the travelling players are little more than ciphers - the site on which history's upheavals can be traced. Hardly speaking to one another, or anyone else, they occasionally deliver direct-to-camera monologues, mixing political invective with Greek history and personal angst, in a vague attempt to give this sprawling film some kind of structure.

Like Brecht's plays - in which the aim is not to make the audience identify with the action, but rather to create awareness of the underlying political argument - The Travelling Players is a cold and distant film, unrelenting in its attempt to depict the swirling vortex of history in process.

Inaccessible and imposing, it may be a masterpiece, but it's a hard one to like.

In Greek with English subtitles

Find out more about "The Travelling Players (O Thiassos)" at
Movie Review Query Engine
The Internet Movie Database

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Click here to check out the local releases and what's on at Staffordshire cinemas..


Just some of the reviews in our movie archive...

Roman Polankski's film noir classic, starring the legendary Jack Nicholson, gets a welcome re-release.

Wondrous Oblivion
Delroy Lindo and Sam Smith star in this Bend It Like Beckham wannabe, set in 1960 London and spinning off cricket.

Monsieur N
Richard E Grant and Philippe Torreton uncover the mystery surrounding Napoleon's death in this French drama.

Do I Love You?
Writer-director Lisa Gornick's winning low-budget British comedy follows a lesbian coming to terms with her faltering relationship.

The Good Old Naughty Days (Polissons Et Galipettes)
Life in post-Taliban Afghanistan is turned into tragic poetry by Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf.

Check out the full review archive pages

Cineworld Burton
Odeon Stoke
Venue Guide | What's on

Warner Village, Newcastle
Venue Guide | What's on

UCI Tamworth
Venue Guide | What's on

Cineworld Burton
Venue Guide | What's on

Stoke Film Theatre
Venue Guide | What's on

Apollo Stafford
Venue Guide | What's on

Cannock Picture House
Venue Guide | What's on

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy