In THE BEE-KEEPER, 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. 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.

At some point he picks up a promiscuous young hitchhiker who seems to represent a new generation without memory and unconcerned with the past, drifting from one place to the next. 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 the 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. 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.

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