6.8/10
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70 user 39 critic

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

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1:46 | Trailer
An American couple travel abroad to revitalize their relationship. But as the trip drags on, their attempt at recovering what they once had seems futile.

Writers:

Paul Bowles (book), Mark Peploe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Debra Winger ... Kit
John Malkovich ... Port
Campbell Scott ... Tunner
Jill Bennett ... Mrs Lyle
Timothy Spall ... Eric Lyle
Eric Vu-An Eric Vu-An ... Belqassim
Amina Annabi ... Mahrnia
Philippe Morier-Genoud Philippe Morier-Genoud ... Captain Broussard
Sotigui Kouyaté ... Abdelkader (as Sotigui Kouyate)
Tom Novembre Tom Novembre ... French Immigration Officer
Mohamed Ben Smaïl Mohamed Ben Smaïl ... Smail (as Ben Smail)
Kamel Cherif Kamel Cherif ... Ticket Seller
Mohammed Afifi Mohammed Afifi ... Mohamed (as Afifi Mohamed)
Brahim Oubana Brahim Oubana ... Young Arab
Carolyn De Fonseca Carolyn De Fonseca ... Miss Ferry (as Carolyn de Fonseca)
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Storyline

The American artist couple Port and Kit Moresby travels aimless through Africa, searching for new experiences that could give new sense to their relationship. But the flight to distant regions leads both only deeper into despair. Written by Thomas Manhardt <Thomas.Manhardt@wu-wien.ac.at>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A woman's dangerous and erotic journey...

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Italy

Language:

English | French | Arabic

Release Date:

12 December 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sheltering Sky See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$82,753, 16 December 1990

Gross USA:

$2,075,084

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,075,084
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's source novel of the same name by Paul Bowles is ranked at the No. #97 spot at The Modern Library's Top "100 Best of the Century" list. See more »

Goofs

The crew is reflected in the mirror when Kit gets out of bed alone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Port Moresby: Well, terra firma.
Tunner: We're probably the first tourists they've had since the war.
Kit Moresby: Tunner, we're not tourists. We're travelers.
Tunner: Oh. What's the difference?
Port Moresby: A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.
Kit Moresby: Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.
Tunner: You mean *I'm* a tourist.
Kit Moresby: Yes, Tunner. And I'm half and half.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Vocal Solo
Performed by Moustapha Chouki
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unequivocally beautiful movie that shouldn't be faulted for not quite living up to the novel, but I can't help it
25 March 2006 | by Ham_and_EggerSee all my reviews

The Sheltering Sky is frankly a psychological masterpiece and one of the densest books I've ever read, but it has a fairly simple plot. The film adequately reenacts the plot. but can't really convey what it is that makes the novel so exquisite.

That's not to say Bertolucci and his contributors, especially cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, don't deserve a lot of credit for their work. This should probably be accepted as the industry standard for filming the scenery of North Africa. The title alone should tell you you're in for rich cinematography and in my opinion this is absolutely necessary to the telling of the story, but the scenery does tend to overwhelm the story at times.

Malkovich and Winger both give credible performances, but they seemed like strangers to me compared to the characters in the novel. Likewise the casting of the Lyles was excellent, but their role seemed abbreviated. I found Paul Bowles himself to be a captivating screen presence, though he's only on screen briefly as the narrator.

Ultimately the film is worth watching but constantly reminded me of the discrepancy between the two media, which isn't exactly an endearing quality.


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