In 1918, civil wars are tearing Russia and China apart. Laconic adventurer Corto Maltese is hired by a Chinese secret society to capture a train that's taking Tzar's gold abroad. His friend Rasputin joins him, but only hell awaits them.
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In 1913, laconic sea captain Corto Maltese, adrift in the Pacific, gets rescued by his bandit friend Rasputin who's taking two rich shipwrecked teens to an island where his boss the Monk will hold them for ransom. WWI complicates things.
David Le Rheun
In 1921, laconic adventurer Corto Maltese is in Turkey where several armed factions fight for control. He finds a map to a lost Persian treasure there. He'll need his friend Rasputin who's in Samarkand prison run by Corto's double.
In 1915, laconic adventurer and former ship captain Corto Maltese, a popular European comic book character, is in war-torn Europe. During WWI, he visits four historical locations - Venice, Caporetto, Stonehenge and Vaux-sur-Somme.
In 1916, laconic adventurer Corto Maltese is in Paramaribo, Surinam visiting his mystic female friend Java. He helps a young heir haunted by voodoo spirits, delivers some weapons to rebels in Brazil and hunts for treasure with Rasputin.
At the end of 1918 while civil war is raging on in Russia, antagonism is slowly spreading to the East, between the Oural mountains and Shanghai. Stuck between a desire to save what's left of the great Imperial Russia, and starting from a clean slate, old generals, secret organizations, and mercenaries attracted by gold, struggle to take advantage of the events. As Corto Maltese returns to Shanghai, he barely gets time to cross paths with his old friend/nemesis Raspoutine, and escape a murder attempt before being contacted by members of a Chinese secret organization called "The Red Lanterns". In the heart of violent Mandchourian horizons, Corto and Raspoutine launch themselves into a fabulous treasure hunt, following the tracks of the mysterious armor-plated train of Koltchak. A steel monster spiked with canons and machine guns, this trains protects the counter-revolutionaries gold, traveling through Mongolia, and! Mandchouria. While following the bloody trail of this doomed train, ... Written by
Corto Maltese is a popular European comic book character, the hero of an eponymous comic book series created by late Italian comic artist Hugo Pratt (1927-1995). Most stories are set near, during or just after World War I and follow Corto, a laconic sea captain and adventurer who often travels to exotic places around the world, but rarely gets anything out of it. The brutality of the world and this chaotic era is often depicted in these stories. Secret societies, mad warlords and other more behind-the-scenes players are met by Corto more often than he'd like. This movie is based on one of these stories. See more »
This is a movie that promises a lot from the start: A collision of Russian, continental European and various Asian cultures, political intrigue, James Bond-style antics, religion, martial arts and romance. But in the end, it turns out as a story about... a train robbery. However, it's a wild ride that won't have you looking away from the screen for a second-unless you shy away at occasional violence and nudity...
It has to be one of the most visually interesting animated movies ever, not because of the quality and amount of work put in it, which is somewhat below the best Disney productions, but because of how it's used. From the stunning opening shots to the "fantastic-ized" outdoor enviroments, the varied and effectively (un)lit indoor scenes and the buildings, to the creatively directed character interactions, there's barely a few scenes at all that one could imagine being done with live actors at all!
This movie is true example of animation as an art form, not reducing itself to an imitation of the real life. No matter what you think about the character designs, which are somewhat stiff, all of them have significant, peculiar mannerisms that would be unthinkable to realize with actors. This attitude, both "retro" and reinventive, is exactly what is needed against the trend of "hyper-realistic" animation that has become prominent in recent years.
The other point of this movie is the MUSIC-an absolutely sparkling musical score that sets the perfect mood for each and every scene, except for a overly melodramatic build-up in the epilogue. It's one of the few movie soundtracks that i would try and find and listen to on it's own, because whenever it is heard it really stands out.
I recommend anyone interested in creative visuals as found in Japanese films (though certainly not Japanese animation!) to try and see this movie at least once, for the sake of the infinitely creative visual language. European animation is alive and well, certainly, just hope they find a better story for next one...
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