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Famous Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos dies in road accident

By Teo Kermeliotis, CNN
updated 9:57 AM EST, Wed January 25, 2012
Theo Angelopoulos was an award-winning Greek director, famous for his dreamlike sequences.
Theo Angelopoulos was an award-winning Greek director, famous for his dreamlike sequences.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Greek award-winning film director dies in a road accident
  • He is hit by a motorcycle while crossing a street near the set of his latest film
  • Angelopoulos worked with actors such as Harvey Keitel and Marcello Mastroianni

(CNN) -- On the day film lovers around the globe tuned in to find out this year's Oscar contenders, the world of cinema mourned the loss of one of its most respected figures.

Greek award-winning film director Theo Angelopoulos died Tuesday night after suffering serious head injuries in a road accident in Athens, Greek media reported.

The 77-year-old auteur, whose numerous accolades included a "Palme d'Or" at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for "Eternity and a Day" was hit by a motorcycle while crossing a street near the set of his latest film, "The Other Sea."

Renowned for his dreamlike sequences and slow narrative style, Angelopoulos worked with actors such as Harvey Keitel, Marcello Mastroianni, Bruno Ganz and Jeanne Moreau in a career spanning over four decades.

His critically-acclaimed films focused on issues such as war, immigration and politics, while his latest movie was reported to look at the economic troubles faced by many Greeks under the squeeze of the financial crisis.

"We all owe him a huge 'thank you,'" Greek minister of culture and tourism Pavlos Yeroulanos said in a statement on Tuesday. "In his case, the word 'irreplaceable' has real substance."

Born in Athens in 1935, Angelopoulos moved to France in 1961 for cinema studies before returning to Greece where he first worked as film critic.

He completed his first feature film, "Reconstruction," in 1970, which won awards in Greek and international film festivals.

Angelopoulos cemented his career as one of Europe's most accomplished directors with movies such as "Megalexandros," winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival, and "Voyage to Cythera" and "Ulysses' Gaze," which won awards at Cannes.

For his award-winning "Eternity and a Day," Variety's film critic David Stratton wrote: "Eternity and a Day finds Angelopoulos refining his themes and style. Just as the other great filmmakers have in the past explored similar themes time and again, so Angelopoulos has evolved and come up with one of his most lucid and emotional journeys thus far."

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