The Travelling Players is one of the greatest film epics of all time. It portrays a group of actors touring Greece in the period from 1939 to 1952, a turbulent time in Europe: We witness the war against Italy, the Nazi occupation, and the British and American intervention in Greek affairs. The theatre troupe is rehearsing a nineteenth-century pastorale, which they never perform. Instead, the history of Greece and Europe is commented on through inexplicable events, slogans, songs and monologues. The film was shot in 1974, during the Greek colonels’ junta, and military police were present during the making of the film. Why they allowed its completion remains a mystery to this day. At the time of its release, director Theo Angelopoulos said that even though the film looks backwards, it’s just as much about the future.
In a survey carried out by the British Film Institute in 2012, 16 critics and five directors, including the renowned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, voted for The Travelling Players as one of the ten greatest films of all time.