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Voyager (1991)
"Homo Faber" (original title)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  31 January 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,015 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 17 critic

Walter Faber has survived a crash with an airplane. His next trip is by ship. On board this ship he meets the enchanting Sabeth and they have a passionate love affair. Together they travel ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Faber
Dieter Kirchlechner ...
Herbert Hencke
August Zirner ...
Joachim Hencke
Bill Dunn ...
Peter Berling ...
Lorna Farrar ...
Kathleen Matiezen ...
Lady Stenographer
New York Doorman
Charley Hayward ...
Irwin Wynn ...


Walter Faber has survived a crash with an airplane. His next trip is by ship. On board this ship he meets the enchanting Sabeth and they have a passionate love affair. Together they travel to her home in Greece, but the rational Faber doesn't know what fate has in mind for him for past doings. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Even the darkest secret couldn't keep them apart.


Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

31 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Voyager  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$516,517 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

The passage of independents
28 February 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The only other Schlöndorff movie I was aware of having seen before this was Palmetto, a hyper-twisty neo-noir made in the States . I liked that movie a whole lot, but it didn't prepare me for Homo Faber which is very dense, well made and literary. Definitely not the "man with hot pants" type of neo noir, like Palmetto, The Hot Spot, Body Heat, Romeo is Bleeding &c. Indeed it's not that obviously noir, because it's steers free of many of the cycle's clichés, whilst keeping what is perhaps the essential ingredient: fatalism, wherein an initial mistake spirals out of control and controls your destiny. The film is not conceptual film noir, it doesn't wallow in the plot arc, or the destruction of a character. The only film I feel I can truly compare it to is the English Patient. Both movies have romantic themes, have extremely good literary-based scripts, contain educated well-spoken protagonists, excellent location shooting, unobtrusive period recreation, and take place in eras not too far apart in time.

So Homo Faber is a man, Walter Faber, a prodigal engineer, who seems like a laid back cross between Fitzcarraldo and Brunel. He's too caught up in his romance with engineering to seize the moment and the girl. He is reminiscent in this sense of Dominic in Youth Without Youth, and Zetterstrøm in Allegro (excellent films), both love-blind men caught up in their pursuits (linguistics and piano playing). As Cupid is the real God and reigns over drama, these men must be punished.

Homo Faber is Latin for The Man Who Forges His Own Destiny, which is ironic, because in the film Faber is subject to a series of extremely rare coincidences, seemingly manipulated by Providence. There's a duality though, because in a very real sense he has forged his own destiny, it's just that it's inescapable.

The movie is a luscious wonder, it takes place all over the world in often exotic locations, and the recreation of late 50s period details works really well (there are far too many "look at me" type films where the production team feel the need to introduce absolutely superfluous period details).

I mentioned the phrase "the passage of independents", in my title, which needs explaining. You come across many characters in the movie who are independent. Even when Faber is in love and travelling in Europe, quite often he will go off on his own, or she will go off on her own. The folks here are extremely insulated from the manipulations of others. Faber even has the annoying habit of ignoring questions put to him. I think the movie is very ambivalent on the subject of independence, which is displayed as being quite heartless, however on the other hand, you can see, for example, that if Faber had maintained his cloying New York relationship, that would clearly have been the wrong move. So the film allows you to make up your own mind on that subject, and really in the process becomes elegiac.

To be more forthright on the subject, the film may indeed be best described as being about the folly of existentialism. Although as mentioned there is a large level of ambiguity to this. Faber, the "intellectual Philistine", at one point draws a blank when Sabeth mentions Camus and his existentialist (although Camus rejected this term) novel The Stranger, and then makes a joke when Sabeth asks him if he knows about Sartre and existentialism, "aren't those the guys who dress in black and drink espresso" (quote from memory). This is despite him being what I would describe as a textbook existentialist himself. He is an authentic person, full of enthusiasm for his own interests, who lives for himself, whilst recognising his level of duty, and its strict limits. When he truly starts to understand love, and, although he feels absolutely nothing in the presence of art, is able to appreciate the happiness of Sabeth whilst she appreciates art, it is too late for Faber.

Couldn't recommend it more highly, would help a lot if you liked The English Patient. Is currently available via DVD from Germany.

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