Landscape in the Mist

Director: Theo Angelopoulos
Year Released: 1988
Rating: 2.5

A young girl and her brother set out to find their Father (who's supposedly living in the Fatherland) and along the way experience one Significant Moment (and their accompanying Symbolic Components) after another. The children are basically ciphers who fail to generate much plausible emotion - they tear up and embrace because that's what the screenplay instructs them to do - so the way I'm assuming you're supposed to process this is purely Intellectually, with the kids acting as muted 'guides' through one arranged set-up after another (you watch what they watch: an old man playing a violin in a diner, a comedy troupe sells their uniforms, a giant fake hand gets airlifted out of the water). It sounds hokey - the way I described it, at least - but I have to confess that the film is intoxicatingly marvelous to look at and almost hypnotic if you find yourself swept into the visual splendor of it (I did in parts). If there's any brilliance to be found in the work of Angelopoulos, it's his masterful pacing and compositional skills (the section of the movie where the people appear frozen, staring at the sky as it snows is unmistakably gorgeous).