The Beekeeper (film)

The Beekeeper (Greek: Ο Μελισσοκόμος, translit. O Melissokomos) is a 1986 Greek drama art film[1] directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos. The film is the second installment in Angelopoulos's "trilogy of silence", preceded by Voyage to Cythera and followed by Landscape in the Mist.

The Beekeeper
The Beekeeper FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Directed byTheodoros Angelopoulos
Produced byTheodoros Angelopoulos
Written byTheodoros Angelopoulos
Tonino Guerra
Dimitris Nollas
StarringMarcello Mastroianni
Music byEleni Karaindrou
CinematographyGiorgos Arvanitis
Edited byTakis Yannopoulos
Release date
  • 1986 (1986)
Running time
122 minutes

The Beekeeper was nominated for the Golden Lion in the 43rd Venice International Film Festival.[2] The film was the first of Angelopoulos's to use an already well-known actor, in this case, Marcello Mastroianni, who by the time has won the Best Actor award at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival once and has been nominated for the Best Actor at the 50th Academy Awards once.


The film follows the journey of Spyros (Marcello Mastroianni), a beekeeper, to various parts of Greece after his daughter's wedding. Spyros just retired as a teacher, before he sets out on his annual journey in spring for his bees to get honey. A girl (Nadia Mourouzi) hops on Spyros' truck early in the journey, and travels with Spyros for the most part of the story. Spyros and the girl visit Spyros' old friends and his wife along the way, and finally arrive at a theater owned by one of his friends and about to be sold. There in the theater Spyros and the girl finally have intimate physical interaction, long after Spyros has tried to coerce her into kissing but failed. The girl parts ways with Spyros after a few nights of stay in the theater, before the movie ends with Spyros turning over his beehive boxes and lying on the ground between the turned boxes. The final scene sees Spyros tapping on the ground probably a series of Morse code, which reminds of the tapping done by his sick friend (Serge Reggiani) right before Spyros left him in the hospital.



Ronald Bergan[3] calls the film a "metaphysical road movie".[4]

Janet Maslin criticized The Beekeeper, writing that it "wastes Marcello Mastroianni in his title role" and that "(n)ot even those inclined to dwell on the film's occasional honeycomb imagery or its heavy sense of foreboding will find much to command the attention," arguing that The Beekeeper is interesting only in the context of Angelopoulos's other two titles in his "trilogy of silence" (which also includes Voyage to Cythera and Landscape in the Mist).[5] It was also written in Time Out that the film "has a stately pace and a shortage of event or information that are a lot to take."[6]

In The Independent, however, Holly Williams lauded the film as "ponderously paced but poignant" and stated that "the directing is assured, and the performances restrained and heartbreakingly believable."[7] John Gillett praised The Beekeeper as having "wonderfully textured images by Arvanitis, a succession of beautifully sustained traveling shots, and an emotional intensity which moves to a grave, overwhelming climax."[8] Acquarello of Strictly Film School[9] called the work "a haunting, compassionate, and profoundly melancholic portrait of isolation, dislocation, estrangement, and obsolescence," referring to it as an "indelible chronicle" of the contemporary Greek society.[10]


The Beekeeper was nominated for Golden Lion at the 43rd Venice International Film Festival.[11]


  1. ^ "O MELISSOKOMOS (THE BEEKEEPER) (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Venice Film Festival (1986)". IMDb. 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Ronald Bergan". The Guardian. 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  4. ^ Bergan, Ronald (25 January 2012). "Theo Angelopoulos obituary". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (7 May 1993). "Review/Film; Buzzing Off After Grandpa". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "The Bee Keeper". Time Out London. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  7. ^ "DVD: The Beekeeper (18)". The Independent. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  8. ^ "The Beekeeper | BAMPFA". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Strictly Film School". Strictly Film School. 1987. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  10. ^ Acquarello (2003). "O Melissokomos, 1986". Strictly Film School. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Venice Film Festival (1986)". IMDb. 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.

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