“How many borders one has to cross to find himself?” Or “Its the borders, the limits, that drive us insane!”
These are the phrases from the film ‘The Suspended Step of the Stork‘. It’s not the first Theo Angelopoulos film that I have seen. More I am watching the works of this director, more I’m getting swirled into the ocean of his thoughts and falling in love with his camera. This film being the first of his ‘Trilogy of Borders’, deeply concerns the meaning of ‘border’ in all means. In the ‘waiting room’ facing the Albanian border, the refugees, political or other, outcast by the rest of humanity, wait. Undoubtedly, this one of the best movies of Theo Angelopoulos.
Very few filmmakers could use silence or absence of sound so effectively, the way director handled it, mainly in the long cross-border wedding scene. Just this particular scene is capable enough to include the director in all-time cinema greats. Dialogues are used sparingly. But the film includes -in addition to the standard Greek and English speaking- fragments spoken in Albanian, Kurdish and Turkish, which will be attractive for those who are charmed by the beauty in hearing various languages. Angelopoulos used silence to capture moments of high intensity, reverting to the non-verbal language of gestures, gazes, sounds, and music, when he believes that words can only take us so far.
‘The Suspended Step of the Stork‘ is above all a political film aimed at the socio-political situation in the Balkans at the end of the twentieth century. In the process, Angelopoulos forces us to meditate on the concepts of geographical, cultural, political, and personal ‘borders‘.