Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Review: Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka (2013) [DVD]


Information:
Artist: Vangelis
Album: Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka
Release date: November 25, 2013
Label: Gonzo Multimedia

Running time: 119:00

Production details: Photography by Felix Bauer with Steve Payne, Lawrence Bond, Jim Hornby & Robert Mitrotti.

Packaging details: Standard DVD case no booklet.
Cover design by Sharon Smart

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Review by Diego Camargo      Rating:


Thoughts: Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka (2013) is not, in fact, a new documentary, it was recorded in 2009 by Isolde Films but released only in November 2013 by Brittish label Gonzo Multimedia.

The documentary, despite the name, doesn't cover any trip Vangelis might have made, at least not in the literal sense. It's the journey of the soul.
Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka (2013) is a film about Vangelis's life but not in the traditional way of music documentaries. In fact, it would be an impossible task to do a traditional documentary about a figure so peculiar as Vangelis.

For Aphrodite's Child's fans a warning: there's not even a mention about the band in the two hours doc. Instead Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka (2013) tries to show us what the musician really is, not only his music. The two-hour movie gives more focus to his production of soundtracks, in particular Chariots Of Fire, Antartica, Blade Runner, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise and Alexander, as well as the use of his music in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

With interviews from the directors of the mentioned movies and Sean Connery, Hugh Hudson, Jessye Norman, Oliver Stone, Akiko Ebi, Julian Rachlin and many others, the movie tries to evoke the person Vangelis really is. Difficult task.

To be honest, as every documentary that is recorded in many different places and that takes a long time to be recorded Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka (2013) suffers from a general lack of unity from time to time, but this doesn't really make the final result bad.

The scenes where Vangelis is interviewed and when he talks about complicated issues like the musical industry, his paintings, the death of his parents and the loneliness are essential to try and understand this mysterious figure that seems to receive music directly from the cosmos.
And of course, the scenes where he appears playing his 'keyboards', are the special deal in the movie. In fact, it's almost a sacrilege to call them keyboards, in fact the machine he plays, especially built for him, seems more like a spaceship. It's impressive to see him commanding so many buttons, knobs and pedals at the same time!

As I said: the focus of the movie is about his soundtracks and his own being, so unfortunatelly his studio albums or the controversy about his illegal albums Hypothesis and The Dragon are not even mentioned. In many moments the film tries to show how ready Vangelis is  to associate images and sounds and how his musical mind works.

All in all, this is a great DVD and absolutely essential to Vangelis fans since there are not many films like this about him. It's also essential to the ones interested in mysterious souls!

Recommended!
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