Oh save us!
A number of years ago, when VHS tapes were still populating the video clubs, I was looking for a film with a taste of Greece. This is before I was able to find Greek films elsewhere.
In any case, I was staring at this film called Ulysses' Gaze. Saw that it was made by a Greek director and that it had gotten some prize so I decided to rent it. What a horrible idea. The film is three hours long of hurt! I can do long films, but this particular one I could only watch in 30-minute segments. Yes it was THAT bad.
Back then I did not know who Harvey Keitel was (or maybe I did not care...not that I care now, but anyway). Keitel was bad. Really bad. He had the personality of a rotten tomato. The story was incomprehensible and it reeked of art house film pretentiousness. Up until that point I had been very lucky to be spared the art house BS.
Recently I decided to look up what IMDB said about it and I was SURPRISED to find out that people have given it a 7.2/10. 7.2 ??? Are you kidding me? This movie deserves a 5- maximum! I also looked up what Roger Ebert thinks and I was happy that I wasn't the only one that thinks that the movie was awful. This is a good summary quote:
What's left after ``Ulysses' Gaze'' is the impression of a film made by a director so impressed with the gravity and importance of his theme that he wants to weed out any moviegoers seeking interest, grace, humor or involvement. One cannot easily imagine anyone else speaking up at a dinner table where he presides.
It is an old fact about the cinema--known perhaps even to those pioneers who made the ancient footage ``A'' is seeking--that a film does not exist unless there is an audience between the projector and the screen. A director, having chosen to work in a mass medium, has a certain duty to that audience. I do not ask that he make it laugh or cry, or even that he entertain it, but he must at least not insult its good will by giving it so little to repay its patience. What arrogance and self-importance this film reveals.
Finally, I don't understand the supportive IMDB comments such as the ones that claim that Angelopoulos (the director) is some sort of wunderkind now because of this (awful) film and people who boil the bad reviews down to "Americans don't like us" and "this showcases the superiority of European theater". Please save me from bad directors, bad movies and people who think that this was a good movie :-)