O melissokomos

Theo AngelopoulosGreece – 1986

In THE BEEKEEPER, alienation and despair have so mestastasized in the film's central figure that he's virtually one of the walking dead. Spyros, a man soured by a secret, incestuous love for his daughter, on the day of her wedding, gives up his position as a schoolteacher, his wife, his home and his city to take up again the profession of his father and grandfather before him traveling across Greece to the town in which he was born and first learned to tend the bees, following the traditional beekeeper's route, looking for flowers that will produce the best honey, a wanderer obsessed by his job. Like a bee returning to its hive after searching for food he visits his old friends and his childhood home looking for threads to bind him to the present. He drives from town to town revisiting his old haunts and comrades relighting and reliving his history in his memory, trying to reconcile his past ideals with a swiftly changing nation that makes him feel uncomfortable. At some point he picks up a promiscuous young hitchhiker who sporadically tags along with him during his journey and seems to represent a new generation without memory and unconcerned with the past, drifting from one place to the next, flitting between the blinking lights of motor vehicles, gas stations, diners, cheap hotels and traffic signs along the dark, wet glistening roadways of present-day Greece. He becomes obsessed by her. She both irritates and entices him. What he seeks in her is a contact with the future. But for her the future is a casual encounter with the next moment. In the impossibility of their relationship there is a profound despair of a man without a future. He senses a rupture, but it's not the traditional one of the conflict of generations. It's really a rupture of language. He cannot communicate, even with love, with the body. From that comes his crisis of despair. Toward his end, he takes refuge in an abandoned cinema called the Pantheon. There, mocked by the sterile white screen above him, he tries - and fails - to bring himself to life in an attempt to connect sexually with the young hitchhiker but there can be no connection between these people from different worlds, either physical or emotional. For Spyros the past is everything, for her it is nothing. In Angelopoulos' words, «It's the conflict between memory and non-memory.» In the long run she only reminds him of his loneliness and isolation. Unable to come to come to terms with the present, betrayed by the past, wary of the future, Spyros falls back into silence and isolation and returns to his hives, abandoning himself to the stings of his bees.

Original Title O melissokomos
German Title Der Bienenzüchter
French Title L'apiculteur
Other Titles Il volo
Directed by Theo Angelopoulos
Country Greece
Available Formats 35mm, DVD, DCP
Screenplay Theo Angelopoulos, Dimitris Nollas, Tonino Guerra
Film Editing Takis Yannopoulos
Soundtrack Eleni Karaindrou
Cinematography Giorgos Arvanitis
Sound Nikos Achladis
Production Nikos Angelopoulos
Runtime 122 Min.
Language Griechisch/d/f
Marcello Mastroianni
Nadia Mourouzi
Serge Reggiani
Jenny Roussea
Dinos Iliopoulos

«Sehenswert ist er, weil er das Sehen lehrt und zeigt, was Kino sein kann.»
Die Zeit


Texte sowie sämtliches Bild- und Tonmaterial auf der Homepage der Stiftung trigon-film sind für die Berichterstattung über den jeweiligen Film bzw. zur Bewerbung des entsprechenden Kinostarts bestimmt. Die Materialien stehen unentgeltlich nur für die Berichterstattung über den jeweiligen Film bzw. für dessen Bewerbung zur Verfügung. Jede davon getrennte Nutzung ist im Sinne des Urheberrechts untersagt bezw. muss rechtlich mit trigon-film geklärt werden. Die entgeltliche sowie unentgeltliche Weitergabe an Dritte ist untersagt. Der Copyright Hinweis © ist obligatorisch. Durch die Nutzung unseres Materials erkennen Sie die Copyright-Bestimmungen an!


Stay connected

Subscribe now for the trigon-film newsletter and stay up to date on new dvd releases. For our German or French newsletter with news on all cinema, vod and dvd releases, please change to the respective site and sign up there.



trigon-film is a foundation with outstanding films from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, pursuing the aim to dismantle cultural barriers and prejudices. Since its foundation in 1988, trigon has distributed more than 500 titles to Swiss cinema houses, on DVD and in its online cinema. Most of these titles remain in the trigon collection so that the access to this visual legacy is maintained. Learn more