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Lisbon Story
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Lisbon Story More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Tribute to cinema in sight and sound

Author: E Canuck from Vancouver, Canada
31 July 1999

Wenders has shot a visual gem with rich sound and music, whose story-line and entire raison-d'etre is a tribute to film-making itself. Every frame is composed, dramatic, and the complementary colour theme of blue-yellow-red (predominantly sky blue) is adhered to so closely, it's phenemonal and delectable.

Waiting for the supposed main character Friedrich, played by Patrick Bauchau, to show up in the film, eventually becomes a metaphor for those times in life when one waits for the "main event", and it's a long time coming. Life is what happens while we're waiting for life to begin.

Rudiger Vogler's Phillip gets to deliver a wonderful lecture to all pretentious artists everywhere who've lost their way, and to art film-makers like Friedrich, especially. We're so happy to hear him dressing down Freidrich, and doing so more articulately than we could have done, it gives this fairly slow-moving film a wonderful sense of resolution and direction.

A very human film about the ordinary, the magic in the ordinary, and the ability of film to convey that magic. Loved it.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Haunting and beautiful

Author: lauri3 from Turku, Finland
15 August 2002

This movie had the most tremendous impact on me when I first saw it - and now that I watch it again it does the same kind of magic to me. It gives impressions, but mostly it uses pictures, music, sounds to convey beauty.

The depth, what makes this more than commercial of Lisbon is the true question lying under about filmmakers wrestle with himself about the worth of making a film or any film and then again a really beautiful story about love which is drawn with only the needed lines to make you see it, but without spelling the feelings out.

The lead singer of Madredeus - Teresa Salgueiro does exceptional role without playing anyone particular - also the presence of other band members is strong - and takes the movie somewhere between real and unreal and gives the movie sleepy, dreamy like atmosphere. Wenders must have talent in casting since also the "local" people fit in perfectly and are so easy about being in front of camera.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

This film is food for the soul.

Author: ivy26_yu from belgrade, yugoslavia
17 January 2001

"The thought is getting born blind, but it knows what is watching".. Today I saw the movie again. Actually, it was again, and again..for I don't know how many times since Wenders made it.

Who wouldn't get in love with Portugal, after seeing it..The people and country of Saudade. I won't explain you what it means, only real Portuguese know that. And even if I would like to explain,it is pointless..That can't be described, but maybe you can recognize it in Teresa's voice and landscape of Tejo who is the only witness of their lives. This story don't need actors to tell it because it is not only story between Fillip and Friedrich, but about the secrets that are hiding in wrinkles of people faces, in old aqueduct and walls of houses in Lisbon.

I hope that you get that desire to see and hear those secrets as much as I did.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Falling in love with a city

Author: Pedro Ziegler ( from Lisbon, Portugal
3 March 2003

This movie is, without the question, the most beautiful movie ever written about the city of Lisbon. It shows on the inside, all the old houses and narrow streets that Portuguese people hold so dearly...

The plot is pretty simple: Phillip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) is a sound ingeneer for a German director who moved to Lisbon, and he receives a letter from his friend to come to Portugal and help him do this movie about the capital, through sound capturing of all the people, small noises, and even feelings that float in the air. Vogler accepts the challenge, and goes on a trip to Lisbon.

In the city, he gets acquainted with a local band, Madredeus (who perform a beautiful soundtrack for Lisbon Story), and some of the local kids... After a few weeks, he realizes he's in love with this town, so full of charm and emotion all over, and the rest I leave for you to see. There is also a bit of romance, between the main actor and Teresa, the lead singer of Madredeus (which is, in fact, a beautiful Portuguese girl).

Wim Wenders, as always, has great directing on this one, showing the places that we never thought that would contain so much beauty as they do. He's a great director, and this is a great picture, in a way of a documentary, but greatly captured.

Strong feelings are expected. Wonderful movie.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Warm-hearted tribute to the power of art

Author: jonr-3 from Kansas City, Missouri, USA
17 February 2005

The first time I watched "Lisbon Story" I was disappointed and rather annoyed at what seemed a pretentious and self-indulgent experiment.

Then several months later, I watched it again, and was captivated by it, enjoyed it thoroughly, and found it to be a good-hearted, affectionate salute to motion pictures and by extension to art in general. Though the film's humor frequently borders on being downright corny, I couldn't help enjoying even that aspect because of the obvious good will with which it was presented. It feels refreshing to have a film-maker work so hard to amuse the audience! That in itself is a token of respect.

Wenders has made here a film that's slippery, puzzling, and that eludes the mind's grasp at every turn, yet in the end delivers a powerful and even joyful message. It takes a certain amount of courage to send a positive message to an audience these days--or even in 1994, when the film was released. I applaud Mr. Wenders and I applaud this film. I'm very glad I thought to watch it again--I will definitely see it again in future, too.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Cinema Story

Author: Michalo from Patras
10 February 1999

Fascinating scenes, especial sounds, divine music which all end in a praise to the art of cinema, by the director who most of the time proves to be a real poet.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Listen to the reviewer who said "this movie is good for the soul"

Author: rooprect from New York City
2 August 2007

I've spent the last few days trying to come up with the perfect description for this movie, and I'm afraid another reviewer beat me to it: "This movie is good for the soul."

This is the perfect movie for the uninspired artist who is suffering from malaise, writer's block, disenchantment or perhaps just an overall pissy attitude toward the world. It's absolutely beautiful. The actors are endearing, the story is charming (though not without a few poignant touches of darkness & spookiness), and the music is downright hypnotizing.

This film gave me a big smile from beginning to end. The humour is what I call "real life silly"--these are things that have happened to us all at one point or another, and to watch the characters' reactions is hilarious, because we say to ourselves, "That could've been me!"

But overall this is a movie about love, not necessarily between people but perhaps between a person and a city or a person and a camera or a person and a microphone. It's gorgeous in its ambiguity because, like I said up front, it can inspire any of us out of our deepest rut.

In past reviews of Wim Wenders' work I have been brutally uncomplimentary; he has often struck me as a meandering type who lacks the ability to pull his visions together coherently. But this film has given me a completely new appreciation for his lucidity and ability to convey a profound (yet abstract) thought. The two monologues at the end carry perhaps the strongest messages I've ever seen on film. Simple but resounding.

I give LISBON STORY 10 stars, something which I rarely do even to my favourite films. But this movie is literally perfect, I can't criticize a single thing (edit: OK, after thinking real hard, I suppose there's one flaw... the guitarist's fingers don't exactly match up with what he's playing in one scene. But I think we can all agree that's nitpicking). Enjoy!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful story

Author: Rodolfo Soriano Núñez ( from New York/Mexico City
3 March 2001

Besides the excellent photography of the film, the story is -as many other from Wenders- a deep reflection on the role of the media as reflecting "reality" and creating a second order "reality". Especially the inability of the media to "copy" reality, and the unavoidable role of the media as both and intermediary and a creative agent. The soundtrack by Madredeus is great and the whole setting, Lisbon, is worth the ticket

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Captures The Essence Of Lisbon

Author: paul-1722 from United Kingdom
3 January 2011

As an eighteen year old in 1983, I ended up in Lisbon on a fairly aimless wander around the Iberian peninsula on the railway network, and simply fell in love with it. I stayed for a while to explore the city and surroundings and ended up with a rich mental image of the sights and sounds of this beautiful city.

When I came across a reference to this movie, I simply had to buy the DVD. Interestingly, I see that the intention of the movie was to capture the spirit of the city, and thankfully it does not do so from a touristic point of view.

It captures Lisbon at an interesting time for the country, some 20 years after the revolution and 8 years after Portugal joined the European Union. And also at a time where it was modernising fast. A few years prior to the shooting of this movie, there were very old buses and the old trams (Eléctricos) ran just about everywhere and up impossibly narrow and steep roads where you could reach out and touch the houses. Now, there are just a couple of heritage routes, and these are the eléctricos featured in the movie out of necessity. Today, the transport system is completely modernised and I can see the point of the movie in trying to capture the spirit of a city before it changes out of recognition.

The use of the group Madredeus to provide the music is, I think, quite inspired. To make a movie about Lisbon could have turned into a 'yawn' if it had used a cliché of Fado. Thankfully it didn't and used something more contemporary. And what a group! The music is haunting, so much so that I have now gone off and sought out their CDs! Teresa Salgueiro reminds me of those Portuguese girls I met as a youth, she is just perfect for the part.

As has been mentioned by another reviewer, the movie is a bit self-indulgent in an 'arty' type of way, but it IS entertaining.

Finally, I prefer the movie with the subtitles turned off. The movie has a pan-European flavour with various languages popping up and intertwining. I suppose I benefit that I can grasp the gist of Portuguese when it is being spoken, and the German in the movie is basic enough that most of us will have absorbed some of it from movies and TV. Teresa Salgueiro's voice is very clear to understand when singing to those who are trying to understand the language, and is a real pleasure to listen to. To someone who may never have visited Portugal, the use of children who are fluent in English might seem odd, but in general, the Portuguese (well, in Lisbon, especially so) have always been good English speakers and I find it entirely natural to find Portuguese schoolchildren who speak English as well as Portuguese.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Subtle simplicity, a treat for the ears as well as the eyes...

Author: rnrjr from Seattle, WA
8 January 2003

This film is Wim Wenders' own anti-Wenders movie, a self-commentary on (even great) overblown moviemaking. After years of making increasingly larger and more grandiose (though excellent) films, with Lisbon Story, Wenders has made a film as much about quiet and reflection as about image.

It's a refreshing exception to most of film as a media, which is driven almost entirely by image, and sometimes leaves our other senses by the wayside.

Seen through the eyes (or more rather heard through the ears) of the main character (a sound and sound effects engineer) we hear, see, and feel Lisbon.

And we see that Wim Wenders can make a small and intimate movie as well as Until the End of the World. This film is slow by Hollywood standards, but slow like a long soak in a hot tub, not something you would want to go any faster.

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