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Pascali's Island (1988)

PG-13 | | Drama | August 1988 (USA)
1908: Pascali, a spy for the Sultan, sends reports to Istanbul that nobody reads. His suspicions are roused when a British archeologist appears, who may not be quite what he seems.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Basil Pascali
...
Anthony Bowles
...
Mardosian
...
Herr Gesing
...
Lydia Neuman
...
Pasha
Stefan Gryff ...
Izzet Effendi
...
Pariente
Sheila Allen ...
Mrs. Marchant
...
Dr. Hogan
Danielle Allen ...
Mrs. Hogan
Nick Burnell ...
Chaudan
Giorgos Oikonomou ...
Greek Rebel
Alistair Campbell ...
Captain
Ali Abatsis ...
Boy in Bath
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Storyline

1908: Pascali, a spy for the Sultan, sends reports to Istanbul that nobody reads. His suspicions are roused when a British archeologist appears, who may not be quite what he seems. Written by Cleo <frede005@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die vergessene Insel  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was largely shot on the Greek island of Symi and in Rhodes in the late summer of 1987. See more »

Soundtracks

Canon
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Pachelbel
Arranged by Loek Dikker
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautifully rendered
29 June 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

This has been a favorite film of mine for years, for many reasons. The setting is a heartbreakingly beautiful island in the Mediterranean, a distant part of the dying Ottoman Empire. The photography by Roger Deakins is superbly understated. While its quite spare, lacking the over-detailed lighting of, say, a Merchant Ivory period-production, it is undeniably soaked with the warmth and specificity of place, very much an Orientalist painting (rather like the book). There is an immediacy to the look and feel of the film which adds to its historical integrity.

The casting is brilliant; all the characters appear sculpturally archetypal. Ben Kingsley is superb as Pascali, inhabiting the doomed, lonely, character completely. His emotional monologue/prayer to the sultan near the beginning and which ends the film are intoned like music. Helen Mirren is perfect as Pascali's friend, muse and as his unattainable virtue, the source of his fevered longing. Charles Dance (who always appears larger than life, even on film) is excellent as the archeological con-man who stumbles over something pure and is trapped by it. Steffan Gryff wields an immortal, cunning profile and along with Nadim Sawalha as the Pasha, behave and look like the Ottoman Empire's corruption made flesh.

The story is a seductive mix; a gorgeous setting blended with serious melancholy, punctuated by a minor adventure and all informed by a clear respect for history. Its a small story (as emotionally guarded stories invariably feel) but its a terrific film.

Pascali has watched, spied and reported his whole life for masters who are doubtless unaware of his existence at all. As this is slowly dawning on him he is suddenly swept up in an minor intrigue which crystalizes all of his wishes and hopes. He sees a chance for personal renewal, but to achieve it he has to overcome instincts developed from a lifetime of deceit in a petty, corrupt outpost of a dying empire.

Recommended highly.


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