The second scene is when Spyros, after finally tracking his son and Eleni down, dances with her at a beer hall political rally. He then wordlessly drops dead after leaving them, knowing she will never return. Upon the young couple’s return to their village, to bury his father, there is a powerful scene of his casket being rowed on a raft (a scene which is echoed later in the film, when the river floods out the town and the refugees all leave on boats).
The appeal to Greek history and myth is palpable, and leads into the final, and most powerful, scene. After the raft trip and burial, Eleni and the son return to the family home, the Big House of the village, and are confronted with the ghastly sight of their father’s sheep all killed, with throats slit, and hanging from the branches of a large tree. Manifestly, they have not been ‘forgiven’ by the town for disrespecting Spyros by running away.
Many critics claim that Angelopoulos’s films are an acquired taste, but all that is required is attention, for once that is given, his mastery of the art rivets a viewer. Even many of the most speed-addicted American filmgoers cannot help but be moved by the power, the sheer visual power, of the images Angelopoulos wields. He also allows more interactiveness by the viewer. Instead of cueing the viewer, at emotional moments, with simplistic back and forth cutting between close-ups, he lets the scene play out from a distance, so that two or more characters are in the same shot. One might be in darkness, or with a back turned, but this allows the actors to act with their whole bodies, and not overact with just their faces. Yet, because Angelopoulos distances the audience from false emotion, when he finally does do a closeup, the emotion has even more power.
This also allows the filmic poesy to take hold, such as in a scene where Eleni, thinking her lover is abandoning her to travel with a musical company run by a man named Markos, that will tour America, runs off to a dock. She then begins dancing with a series of strange men, until Spyros’s son comes to take her home, and says he has not betrayed her. He says, "I betrayed you? That’s impossible!"
This is a true Fellini moment, manifestly brought to the script by Guerra, and it works, as does the later scene, when the son actually does leave her, for a boat headed toward America. She has been working on a red scarf, and after a tearful goodbye to her and the boys, he grabs hold of a loose end of the scarf, and it unravels from Eleni’s hands, as he is rowed toward the steamer, until the last bit of yarn falls into the sea. It is apt and eloquent symbolism for the audience knows that they will never see each other again.