Eternity and a Day ★★★★

*Winner - Palme d'Or [1998 Cannes Film Festival] - Unanimously*

Well, of course. This is a consolation prize after Theo openly declaring himself as a bad loser in 1995. I am literally Mr. Nobody to criticize the master of cinema himself, but it is really not myself diminishing the undeniably sweeping power of this film (even though it is not even in my Top 10 of Theo's feature films); it is me questioning the prestigious jury's decision. This is a delayed prize, one that should have been given twice during the 70s and at least once during the 80s, especially when in 1998 we had several directors offering better and more compelling statements, such as Ming-liang, Malick, Tsukamoto, Medem, Moodysson, Ramsay, Vinterberg and Noé.

Nevertheless, like Landscape in the Mist (1988), it resonates more strongly with the universal sentimentalisms and, under the poetic strokes of a hypnotic journey still contemplating the futility of imposition of subjective geopolitical borders, Eternity and a Day successfully accomplishes the task of defining the human being under more existential definitions than the sociopolitical climate surrounding him no matter how inhuman and decadent it progressively gets. Subtly, it consolidates itself as a love letter towards the perseverance of the human spirit, and the dissonance between the ugliness of human conflict and his accustomed impressionistic lens to capture both God's creation and human architecture results in a cathartic journey for the soul while the sea speaks a vastness about the emptiness of the isolated soul. Unusual for the director, he adds emotions to the characters through what may be Ganz best performance of introspection followed by his participation in Wenders masterpiece and his hyperactive portrayal as the Führer, and maybe this more emotional connection was more appealing to international audiences, resulting in its notorious popularity, compared to how "dry" his portrayal of existentialism through journalism, internal Greek politics and doomed, ambiguous relationships were in his previous masterpieces.

Props to Achileas Skevis for a prepared, conscious performance as the Albanian kid. It is such a shame that Mastroianni had to refuse due to ill health. His third collaboration with the Greek colossus would have been wonderful to behold and the chemistry between the pair would have been grand.


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