Alexander the Great (1980) is one of the most challenging films of Theo Angelopoulos. Not well received critically when first released, and a box office failure with both national and international audiences, the film is rarely shown and rarely figures prominently in discussions of the director's work. Despite this lack of critical attention, the film is an integral part of the work of Angelopoulos and may be seen as a political and stylistic template. The film also figures in the international debate over what cinematic forms are most appropriate for directors with a radical political message. Angelopoulos has insisted that such films must have an innovative form. Alexander the Great carries out that view by trying to force the audience out of its usual passive suspension of disbelief to intellectual as well as emotional engagement. Alexander the Great is perhaps unique in this regard when compared with other feature films by major directors who have addressed anarchism as a serious political ideology.


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pp. 171-182
Launched on MUSE
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