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|IMDB Rating:||6.6 out of 10 (5177 votes)|
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The American artist couple Port and Kit Moresby travels aimless through Africa, searching for new experiences that could give new sense to their relationship. But the flight to distant regions leads both only deeper into despair.
We have taken some photos of "The Sheltering Sky".
They represent actual movie quality.
I know some people think the plot is not as strong as the other Bertoluci's movies. However in my opinion, the cinematography of this movies are too good to be true. If you like the cinematography of the English Patient, you probably will love this movie.
I have seen some bad films in my time, but this takes the cake. Bertoluccimakes you fully understand what it is like to travel for weeks through thedesert. Arid, boring and tedious to the point of utter exhaustion, TheSheltering Sky also makes (I can't believe I am saying this) a tremendousargument against female full frontal nudity. Debra Winger definitely shouldhave refrained from taking off her clothes for the sake of art. None of the6 people I went with liked this movie, but they were all too embarrassed toexpress their desire to walk out on this "Bertolucci classic".
Not long before Paul Bowles's death he had a reunion with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in a hotel room as part of a documentary called "Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles."When the subject of the Bertolucci film of "The Sheltering Sky" came up, Bowles said "The whole thing was horrible, but especially the ending."One assumes this got back to Bertolucci.
Exquisite film. All the other reviewers have said all that I can say. Thatit didn't do well at the box office afirms my belief that the BEST isoftenthe smallest, easily overlooked detail with the least fanfare. Someonesaidit well, if you want graphic violence and car chases this film is not foryou. And that suits me fine. I wouldn't want to share this film withsomeonewho saw Star Trek five times.I was ecstatic to know that Paul Bowles played a cameo (the Narrator) inthis film. I have always been intrigued by this mystical man.And wasn't Sakamoto the same person who wrote the so-called American early60's hit "Sukiyaki"?
This review is from: The Sheltering Sky (DVD) Some love it and some hate it, but it is nearly impossible to deny that this is compelling filmmaking. Yes, the film does have many different elements from Paul Bowles' novel, but Bertolucci's work is equally mesmerizing and carries one on the same strange journey into north Africa.Some see Debra Winger as miscast in the role of Kit. I think the three stars, Malkovich, Winger and Campbell Scott are nearly perfect in the film and lend great credibility to this esoteric telling of a complicated and deteriorating relationship. This is one of those films where, in addition to the three leads, there exists a fourth central character...the land itself. If you want to feel as if you have journeyed through the colorful canyons, dusty cities and great desert regions of northern Africa (not always in first-class comfort, mind you) "The Sheltering Sky" will take you there. Don't try too hard to make sense of everything which is happening externally and internally to the characters, as the storytelling is often elliptical, just absorb the simultaneous beauty and tragedy of this unique experience.
I don't understand why movies like The Sheltering Sky are being made. Thegreat photography is not enough to justify the creation of such a boringfilm. But, after all, Bertolucci is a master at creating movies that lastaneternity talking about...well, nothing at all. I think he would be a greatdocumentary director though.
this film has a haunting quality which makes it almost frightening. Although the young American couple, who are protagonists of this film, travel deeper and deeper into the North African desert in search of a self-revelation that will help them save their relation, they only find self-destruction. In the midst of the frightening nothingness of the inmense landscapes, and the still more frightening nothingness of the increasingly evident impossibility of communication (and not only with the natives), each of them feels compelled to confront what they really are, to look inside themselves. What they see there finally destroys them in a shattering moment (superbly performed) of true, if unbearable, revelation. A very good film, although it doesn't follow many of the aspects of the novel that would help the audience to understand better this story.
This review is from: The Sheltering Sky (Amazon Instant Video) I bought the book, but also wanted to see the movie. Many reviews said that it was better to read the book before watching the movie. I have watched the movie once and thought it was a very thought provoking movie. Now, I plan to read the book and then re-watch the movie. Very well acted movie.
I always wonder what it might be like to have a film set in a locationthat is explicitly specific, with this film, as example, the Saharadesert and outlining areas of North Africa, and to not have some kindof Lawrence of Arabia kind of epic story attached to it. It's achallenge for a filmmaker to attempt, and Bernardo Bertolucci didattempt it in 1990 with the Sheltering Sky, based on the book thatseems to be massively popular (though un-read by me). Whether hesucceeded completely or not will depend on how much the viewer can takeseeing characters sort of engulfed by the director andcinematographer's own adoration of the strange and bizarrely exoticlocales. The story is boiled down, probably more-so than was in the Bowlesnovel, about a husband and wife (Malkovich and Winger), and theirfriend (Scott), who go to "travel" in North Africa. For what preciselyis uncertain, but it is clear that the focal point is that of theirmarriage failing after years together (both sides sleeping with others,distanced, not altogether honest in conversation).But this changes, of course, once Paul gets typhoid and has a fever forthe middle chunk of the film. After this, when a change of eventsoccur, The Sheltering Sky gets even more surreal and sensual thenbefore, if still slightly obtuse in how to really relay a good story.And it's not that Bertolucci is whacked out, like with La Luna, as astoryteller per-say. He actually progresses what there is involving thecharacters pretty well, and Malkovich and Winger are up to the task ofplaying people who are sort of bourgeois malcontents who get theirrespective states of mind altered through their travels of thefly-ridden villages and poor towns in the Sahara region. But it seems like material, even for someone who hasn't read the book,to be more evocative as prose then as filmed, and the many customs andmany little details of the villagers are left as more-so poeticaspirations than things relevant to the narrative. This all being said,The Sheltering Sky may possibly be Bertolucci's most astoundingly shotfeature, with it coming right behind Goodfellas as the bestcinematography of 1990 (via the great Vittorio Storaro). Shot aftershot looks like it could come out of a truly exquisite book, and thededication to compositions and long shots and how a close-up can bejust as meaningful cinematically as a view of the desert, is the bestthat Bertolucci has to offer.But then again, like with Antonioni when he's at his most scatter-shot,without characters who even subtly convey a lot, or with strong enoughthemes aside from the despair amid an alien environment (to thecharacters), it becomes the textbook case of style over substance. I'drecommend it, especially to fans of the director and DP, but I canunderstand the dismay that fans of the book had at the adaptation,despite the convincing performances and (as a given) the wonder ofseeing places not seen before, like the not-filmed-before-this-filmlocation of Niger.
The movie, I gather, is supposed to be about the eroding marriage ofKit (Winger) and Port Moresby (Malkovitch). Port Moresby? The writer ofthe novel, Paul Bowles, surely meant it as a joke but although I getthe joke I didn't get the point.In fact, the point of the entire film was pretty much lost on me.Winger and Malkovitch arrive to do some touring in North Africa. Comewiz me to zah Casbar. And tell us where Rick's Cafe is located. Right.There is a hanger-on whom they've met on their journey, Scott Campbell.The trio do their best to make themselves at home in the strange cityfull of strange streets. They stay in a crummy hotel. They wander aboutand drink tea. No booze in Islamic countries, though my informantsasseverate that there is usually some dynamite hash to be had.But if the point of the story is that Kit and Port feel their marriagedissolving, and that they're searching for something that will restoremeaning to their bond, there's not much evidence of it. Yes, Portsleeps with a seductive and treacherous hooker. And Winger and Scottspend the night together after a debauch. But there's nothing toindicate that these were more than errant acts based on impulse,nothing resembling a recurring pattern. Kit and Port don't fight; theyhardly argue. They may not be especially bright but they're notsoulless either.They leave the city and travel to a smaller and shabbier tourist town.They manage to dump Scott somewhere. Then they board an overcrowdedthird-world bus and wind up with Port dying of some unidentifieddisease, a victim of the epidemic that has caused the closing of theonly respectable hotel in town.She leaves his body on the floor mattress and wanders off into thedesert's fringe, where she is offered a ride by some spooky lookingnomads, who turn out to be reasonably human after all. They take her toa village compound made up of some unworldly looking multi-story adobestructures. Winger stays with the young head honcho for a while,getting to know him in a Biblical sense, until the other ladies beginto resent her presence and throw her out. She winds up at a Westernoutpost, tattooed but saved.Bowles, the author, makes small appearances at the beginning and theend of Winger's journey, voicing some pieces of narrative from thenovel, which I didn't find enlightening. Somerset Maugham used to do itbetter.Bonus points for the photography. Bernardo Bertolucci may have let thestory get away from him but he's got the desert and its denizens downpat. Some of the shots are extremely impressive, the ones that don'tlook like Bakersfield or Deming. Timbuktu, I was surprised to learn, isa small but flourishing city rather than a caravansary, no longer justTimbuk One. Another joke the point of which eludes me. If TerenceMalick had been behind the camera there would have been inserts of thefauna, little lizards skittering around or a sawscale viper orsomething. Decent performances too.The first time I saw this I was swept up in the tale because I wascurious about seeing where it would go, and then found myself engagedwith the characters. It doesn't hold up as well on a second viewing.The mystery, what there was of it, is over.
This movie after a novel by Paul Bowles is about the danger ofgoing beyond the horizon, leaving the protection of the sheltering sky to seek adventure, oblivion and answers. Kit and Port, an American couple bored with the NY jet-set life decide to travel around in Morocco for 1 or 2 years. The journey begins in Tangier,symbol of European civilization with it's grand hotels, French cafes, but the more the couple goes South the more threatening the country becomes in it's strangeness. The impossible contact with Morocco and the estrangement of Kit and Port is symbolized by disease. Port dies alone in a French army camp in the middle of the desert, while Kit continues the journey to the extreme South until she reaches the last frontier of the country: Timbuctu, where the desert people trade Moroccan goods. There she's looses the last contact to her environment. Hiding her face like the desert people, she becomes the woman without a face, a nobody. Isolated in her prison she destroys her diary, only testimony of her experience and ultimate trace of European-American civilization. At the end of the movie, Kit is running through the streets of Timbuctu trying desperately to communicate with what's left when language turns out to be useless : money, but the market people don't know US$ and reject her violently. Back in Tangier, her starting point and gate into the foreign country, Kit realizes that she has lost everything by disregarding warnings and leaving the protection of the sheltering sky.
The Sheltering Sky is frankly a psychological masterpiece and one ofthe densest books I've ever read, but it has a fairly simple plot. Thefilm adequately reenacts the plot. but can't really convey what it isthat makes the novel so exquisite.That's not to say Bertolucci and his contributors, especiallycinematographer Vittorio Storaro, don't deserve a lot of credit fortheir work. This should probably be accepted as the industry standardfor filming the scenery of North Africa. The title alone should tellyou you're in for rich cinematography and in my opinion this isabsolutely necessary to the telling of the story, but the scenery doestend to overwhelm the story at times.Malkovich and Winger both give credible performances, but they seemedlike strangers to me compared to the characters in the novel. Likewisethe casting of the Lyles was excellent, but their role seemedabbreviated. I found Paul Bowles himself to be a captivating screenpresence, though he's only on screen briefly as the narrator.Ultimately the film is worth watching but constantly reminded me of thediscrepancy between the two media, which isn't exactly an endearingquality.
I saw this movie a couple of years ago, and had forgotten its title, but the images have kept coming to my mind since then. When I wanted to recommend the movie, i would describe it to people and they would invariably ask if it was The English Patient I had seen, possibly because of the African link. This movie gives you a sense of fatalism and aloneness that is very real, but that we are not usually aware in our everyday lives because of the endless stream of distractions we face. But alone in the desert, you start to confront certain inescapable realities: the finiteness of life, the inevitability of disease and ultimately death, carnal passion, the boundaries of compassion and love, and the surrender to the inevitable flow of the stream of life, birth and death. Greatly provocative scenery and technique, a memorable work.
the sheltering sky can almost be considered a work of art as much as amovie. the cinematography is staggeringly beautiful and the screenplayis excellent. apparently Bowles didn't like the film so much. havingread his book and seen the film, i think that the film works better dueto bowles's weak and sometimes distracting prose and odd 'plot'developments. another great sakamoto score. the film is a journey bothfor the protagonists and the viewer. i first saw this film when i wasin Athens and was unable to understand what was being said due to thelanguage difference but i did understand what was happening due to thesparse dialogue. this film is a film about actions, not words; bothliterally and metaphorically.
This movie is not for everyone, but if you like realism, this is a geat movie. It involves a couple, joined by a male friend, who are traveling in desert moslems towns in northern Africa. The setttings are often stark and poverty-stricken. The main romance is up and down like real relationships tend to be. Movie drives home the imperative of enjoying the moment for we know not what tomorrow brings. Though the latter part of the movie drags at times, the main relationships and personality transformations are intriguing.
Bertolucci's adaptation of Paul Bowles novel seems to be perfect. Truly wonderful performances by Debra Winger and John Malkovich. Not to mention supporting players like Campbell Scott. Priceless photography by Vittorio Storaro. And as usual with a Bertolucci film,grade "A" directing. Then why am I only giving this movie one star? This might be a question you might be asking yourself. Here's why. This film lacks a story! It's as clear and simple as that. The beginning starts out promising,as we see the Moresby's(Winger and Malkovich)headed on a trip to the Sahara along with a friend (Scott)named Tunner. As the film progresses the story seems to have gotten "lost". We can't understand why the movie has went pass the 20 minute mark. The longer the film goes on,the more and more you start to wonder,what am I watching? Visually this is perfect! Story wise,this is nothing more than a time waster. Which I'm really sorry to say because it seemed like this movie had so much going for it,and to be ruined due to the fact there was such a lack of story. Look for something else Bertolucci fans!
A movie that captures the most unimaginable out come...A movie to be seen more than once..Took me to the limits..great Director and Producer of coarce..Loved "The old mans inner thoughts at the beginning and the end"
I should have given it less than a five for the lack of character development as it exists in the book, but I give it a five because it gets the job done a different way. I am not sure this is a stand alone film. It requires having read Bowles, I believe, to appreciate it. When I read the various reviews of this DVD, it is very easy to fine many nuggets of truth in each review. This film delivered the sense of bleakness, hopelessness, despair that was prevalent during the post war period of many disillusioned with our world. The film did, for me, with images what Bowles did with words, striking the same sensibilities through the eyes. Frankly, I loved it and believe it or not, I will watch it again!
Bernardo Bertolucci does not really make fast-paced movies, let's face it.But very often (The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris, La Luna,) they'rebeautifully crafted character studies set in amazing landscapes.Bertoluccialso handles his cast with great talent and the performances delivered byactors in his movies are always intense. Here Debra Winger is captivating,and aptly supported by John Malkovich and a strong supporting cast. Thestory slowly unfolds itself, and the nuances in the script, dialogue,cinematography and acting are splendid. The throughout subtle presence ofPaul Bowles adds great melancholy.When I first saw it on the big screen, I left the theater in a state oftotal despair, because the characters are so miserable.
I enjoyed it. It was a story of the disillusioned expatriate looking for more from life and often looking for it by traveling to foreign countries often to only find more disappointment. Many of the scenes give a sense of reality that is not as romantic as the tourist guide which was revealing. A movie you could watch many times just for the visual effects. It also gave a sense of the selfish ulterior motives driving a lot of the so called soul searching of the characters.