Eye For Film >> Movies >> Letter To Theo (2019) Film Review
Letter To Theo
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Elodie Lélu's film may be described as A Letter To Theo, but the message of tolerance and understanding it contains is intended for a much wider audience. Her melancholic eulogy to Greek director Théo Angelopoulos is a celebration of his work and ideas, while also being a documentary testament to refugees who have sort sanctuary in Greece.
Although only clocking in around around an hour in length, Lélu's film is comprehensive and compelling - including enough clips from the films of Angelopoulos and snippets from the director himself outlining his mindset that having a working knowledge of his work before hand is not necessary. One thing is for sure, you're likely to be joining Lélu in her sorrow for the loss of the filmmaker by the time the credits role and trying to seek out his back catalogue.
Angelopoulos was knocked down by a motorbike in 2012 as he was shooting a film we are told he intended to call The Other Sea - which Lélu was working on with him. In a deep irony, given that the film concerned the economic crisis in the country, the ambulance that they called to help him, broke down, a victim of funding cuts. Angelopoulos was concerned with migration and borders, particularly those that exist, not between countries, but in the minds of people who consider "one" and "the other". Lélu picks up on these themes as she returns to the country, describing Angelopoulos' unfinished film as being caught "between fantasy and reality".
Her film shows that migrants, too, are occupying a sort of halfway state, caught as though in an airport waiting room, not knowing whether a destination lies ahead or whether they have, perhaps, already arrived. The film is packed with strong images, such as decaying statues captured, as though in a warzone themselves, to the sound of what appears to be gunfire. Children also form a strong focus, whether on a carousel as the soundtrack plays what could be fireworks, or fighting, or reciting their names and the countries of their birth as Lélu's camera pans over a wall covered in colourful hand prints. Heartfelt andReviewed on: 02 Sep 2019