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Made of four short tales, linked by a story filmed by Wim Wenders. Taking place in Ferrara, Portofino, Aix en Provence and Paris, each story, which always a woman as the crux of the story, invites to an inner travel, as Antonioni says "towards the true image of that absolute and mysterious reality that nobody will ever see". Written by
Oscar Esteban <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As great as anything the man has done; requires repeat viewings
Here's another Antonioni that will be rediscovered again and again as soon as it comes out on tape or DVD. I saw it a few months ago when it ran for the first time (even in metropolitan movie capital L.A.!)for a couple of weeks and then disappeared (art house audiences seem to have opted for their own special territory, where older favorites like Antonioni and Resnais are only welcome as occasional curiosities).
At first I was disappointed, thought the pace to be unbearably boring, and that the man had lost a chance (for years Antonioni had found it difficult to find financing)at an advanced age to add another masterpiece to his canon; but knowing Antonioni for what he was and how I had at first reacted to Blow-Up and the Passenger, I refused to pass judgment until I had seen the film again. I went back the next day and I should not have been surprised that the film kept pulling me in, making me aware of things I had thought about and lost track of throughout my life, driving home, in a contemporary setting, points exposed for the first time some forty years ago in 'L'Aventurra,' forming an environment of subtle moods so characteristcally and fascinatingly alienated in tone (and quite comedic actually) that I couldn't get enough. The scene with Malkovich sitting on the fancy colored swings on the windswept beach, with the weather so beautifully silver skied, and the Eno/U2 track in the background flowing through at just its rhythm, had been my favorite; it still was, but now the whole film was just as great! What a strange phenomenon, the complex simplicity or the invisible complex which Antonioni's eye alone seems to be able to pick up and communicate. The odd thing is, though it does look at first glance like a softcore porno of some kind and it does feature plenty of sex and the maddeningly gorgeous Sophie Marceau and plently of other international stars to distract you, this film is unmistakably Antonioni's to its core, but you will not sense to what a profound extent, until you have seen it a few times and got used to its rhythm. For example, it is quite a funny film with a deep sense of humor, something I did not notice at first, but was turned on to by another critic, and noticed to much delight on further viewings (4 before they pulled it and would've gone back for more). If this film had been promoted right and people guided to a certain extent as to how to approach it, I have no doubt it would have succeeded on the art house circuit like most of Antonioni's '60s films. But the '60s are no more and the film will have to find its audience on the small screen where half its beauty will be lost even in a letterboxed DVD version (if and when it's released). I urge all film nuts general or esoteric to see 'Beyond the Clouds' and add a piece of magic to the tragic.
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