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About an aging Swiss professor of classical languages who, after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman, quits his job and travels to Lisbon in the hope of discovering the fate of a certain author, a doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Written by
Night Train to Lisbon is one of the most philosophical movies to hit theaters in the last couple of years. The trip started by Raimund is not between places but between identities. An existential journey into the great unknown of the soul. Some say we take ourselves everywhere we go. This movie tries to tell us instead that we *find* ourselves in those places, we discover a new way of seeing with our own eyes and, when we leave, a part of us stays in that place forever. Returning there is a way of visiting ourselves, like we would an old friend... There's so many layers, so many subtle metaphors, so much poetry in the imagery and storytelling, that despite being such a straightforward story you can't help feeling like you're walking through a maze, a labyrinth of emotions and thoughts, where present, past and future merge into a vast uplifting eternity. One of the best crafted uses of mise-en-abîme i recall ever seeing in a movie! Raimund is Raimund, but he's also Pascal Mercier, and also Amadeu Prado and also You. There's a fiction within a fiction here: a book within a book within a movie. A lie within a lie: a poet within a reader, within a spectator, within a person. This dilution between fiction and reality and between the actor and the audience often occurs, but rarely is it ever a theme, rarely is it ever presented as a question to the audience and rarely so beautifully answered. This game of mirrors will leave you full of wonder and hungry for life. There couldn't be a better outcome for a story that starts with a suicide attempt... There's too many reasons to watch this movie and too little space to review it properly unfortunately... The scenery of Lisbon, the universal anguish of the characters, the excruciating portrayal of the Portuguese dictatorship, the lessons it offers on some of the most important questions one can ask oneself... Do yourself a favor and go see it!
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