Bernardo Bertolucci, along with co-scenarist Gianni Amico, used Dostoievski's 1846, pre-imprisonment novella The Double: A Petersburg Poem, which they moved to Italy and updated to the pro-Vietcong student-protest present,
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>
British actress Jill Bennett, former wife of British playwright and actor John Osborne, committed suicide shortly after filming ended on The Sheltering Sky. See more »
During the final sequence, when Kit is back to the Grand Hotel and she is waiting in the car, she is wearing white shoes. But just after, when she escapes and is walking in the streets, she is using brown sandals. See more »
Well, terra firma.
We're probably the first tourists they've had since the war.
Tunner, we're not tourists. We're travelers.
Oh. What's the difference?
A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.
Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.
You mean *I'm* a tourist.
Yes, Tunner. And I'm half and half.
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Bernardo Bertolucci co-wrote and directed the film of the classic post WW2 novel by author, Paul Bowles, who also narrates.
The opening shot (after the credits roll over 1947 New York City and a ship disembarks from its port) is of Port's (John Malkovich) face as he awakens in a North African hotel room, the same scene that opens in the novel. Debra Winger is her most attractive as his young wife,'Kit.' They are accompanied by a randy travel companion, 'Tunner.'
The "casbah" atmosphere of the Moslem city's narrow stone streets, flooded with Arab denizens, camels, livestock invites the viewer in.
As soon as the odious "Mrs. Lyle" and her sweaty, overweight son came into the fly-ridden hotel lobby in the hot sultry desert nowhere, I knew I'd love to hate them.
John Malkovich is seduced by a street-smart, young Arab who beckons him to follow through dark streets into a girl prostitute's desert tent. (live chickens inside are a wonderful touch.)
The Sheltering Sky is a good representation of the novel. The book's narrative of setting, characters, and plot is dramatically envisioned and colored by the reader's point of view and imagination. We literally make the story ours; so when we watch the film version, we tend to judge the director's interpretation seriously.
Bertolucci's vision was entertaining and realized well, especially the lead character: the vast Sahara Desert, and exotic ambiance; the cinematography was beautiful. i look forward to watching it on DVD.
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