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In the White City (1983)
"Dans la ville blanche" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  21 April 1983 (Portugal)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 500 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

A Swiss sailor jumps ship in Lisbon, tired of the noisy engine room, the ship "a floating factory of crazy people." He rents a room and does little. He writes letters to his lover, ... See full summary »



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Title: In the White City (1983)

In the White City (1983) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast overview:
Teresa Madruga ...
Julia Vonderlinn ...
Élisa / The Swiss woman
José Carvalho ...
Le patron
Francisco Baião ...
Le voleur au couteau
José Wallenstein ...
L'autre voleur
Victor Costa ...
Le garçon du bar
Lídia Franco ...
La fille du bar
Pedro Efe ...
L'ami dans la taverne
Cecília Guimarães ...
La dame du train
La jeune fille du train
José de Carvalho ...
Le patron


A Swiss sailor jumps ship in Lisbon, tired of the noisy engine room, the ship "a floating factory of crazy people." He rents a room and does little. He writes letters to his lover, describing the whiteness of the city, the solitude and the silence. He sends his love and emptiness; she replies with love and confusion. He sends movies from his 8mm camera. Then he becomes friendly with Rosa, a chambermaid, and soon it's a love affair. He continues to send letters and movies home. His Swiss lover is hurt and angry; she sends an ultimatum. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






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Release Date:

21 April 1983 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

In the White City  »

Filming Locations:

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Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

A masterpiece
17 December 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

A stunning and original film. This is the second film by Alain Tanner I've seen. I watched his Jonah Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 last summer, and it sticks with me as few films have. In the White City might not, but who knows. It's already getting bigger in my mind, and I only turned the VCR off about five minutes ago. This film concerns a drifter of sorts (Bruno Ganz, in a role very different from others of his that I've seen) who finds his job as a sailor too tedious and unfulfilling. When his ship docks in Lisbon, he quits without a word and moves into a small hotel. There he meets a cute bartender who works downstairs (Teresa Madruga); she's a strong personality, which attracts him. The mystery surrounding the sailor pulls her in, and they become lovers. Meanwhile, Ganz wanders around Lisbon with a small, handheld camera shooting random things. He also writes brief letters and throws them, along with reels of film that he has shot, into the mail. We then see another woman, this one in Switzerland, who is apparently Ganz's abandoned wife. We find out very little about her (she never has a name). All we know is that she's upset about her man's absence, and he seems to be cruelly hurting her. Is he doing this on purpose? What exactly is the deal with this guy? I was just as curious about this guy as Madruga was. But the more she finds out about him, the less impressed she is. Perhaps he's not some romantic adventurer. Perhaps he's just a loser. I just found this person so fascinating. Many will find the film a bore, I think, but it was amazing to me. Even if you don't care for it, you must admit that the jazzy musical score by Jean-Luc Barbier is exceptional (one of the best, I think) and that Acácio de Almeida's cinematography is breathtaking. To me, it's all around a masterpiece. 10/10.

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