Legendary Greek Filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos Dies

Theo Angelopoulos - P 2009
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The 76-year-old director is hit by a motorbike while shooting "The Other Sea" near Greek capital Athens.

LONDON – The European movie industry and beyond is coming to terms with the death of Greek director Theo Angelopoulos after the acclaimed filmmaker sustained fatal injuries in a road accident Tuesday evening.

The 76-year-old filmmaker was hit by a motorbike while shooting The Other Sea in the port of Piraeus outside the Greek capital of Athens and rushed to the hospital, where he died.

Born in 1935, Angelopoulos took a job at the French Cinematheque in Paris as a protege of Henri Langlois after an early tryout in law in Athens.

He returned to his native Greece and shot his first feature film, Reconstruction (1970), in black and white. It occupies a place in Greek cinema history for its realistic approach.

Angelopoulos came to international attention with his epic The Travelling Players (1975), which unspooled in the Festival de Cannes’ Directors' Fortnight sidebar.

References to Greek mythology and history became a consistant factor in his filmmaking.

"He was a great European filmmaker, a true public intellectual, one of that generation who also loved to sit, eat, drink and talk politics," said Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick. "He was entirely his own man. He believed completely in an unique, European cinema and was a big fighter for independent cinema in general and European film in particular."

Nods for his filmmaking endeavors include a Venice Golden Lion for The Beekeeper in 1986 and the European Film Academy Award for Landscape In the Mist (1988).

Festival de Cannes prizes include a best script nod with Tonino Guerra for Voyage to Cythera (1984) and a Palme d’Or for Eternity and a Day (1998).

He is survived by his wife and producer of most of his films, Phoebe, and three daughters.