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The Sheltering Sky (1990)

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The American artist couple Port and Kit Moresby travel aimlessly through Africa, searching for new experiences that could give sense to their relationship. But the flight to distant regions only leads both deeper into despair.

Writers:

Paul Bowles (book), Mark Peploe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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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 Moresby
John Malkovich ... Port Moresby
Campbell Scott ... George 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
Ben Smaïl 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:

Refugio para el amor See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$82,753, 12 December 1990, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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

This film was referenced in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Werewolf" when Crow shouts: "Come on, The Sheltering Sky moved faster than this!" 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

Referenced in Drug-Taking and the Arts (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Zarzis
From Tunisie Chants et Rythms
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro's love letter to Morocco
21 February 2012 | by ursulahemardSee all my reviews

Not exactly a Biopic in the proper sense of the word, but an adaption of the autobiographical and massively dramatised novel by the American author, composer and translator Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999). In 1947 Bowles settled in Morocco, with his wife, Jane Bowles (February 22, 1917 – May 4, 1973) who was an American writer and playwright in her own right. Not having read the book, it's too difficult to me to comment on its truthfulness, however we know that Paul Bowles was cooperating with the screenwriters, it is he who is narrating the film and even appears in a cameo role. It's the story about a couple's search for stimulation not only within their fading passion and closeness but also for their creativity and productivity. Ultimately, from the personal point of view, this turns out to be a sad enterprise, thinking that the constant traveling and external visual changes would rekindle their evaporated love and disconnection; it's a shortsighted forced-upon chase after illusions.

John Malkovich and Debra Winger are not the usual Hollywood-like physically attractive love couple 'a la Barbie and Ken' nevertheless it was beautifully exciting to watch them perpetually connect and disconnect mentally and physically. As soon as the protagonist dies, that's when the biopic turns into fiction, as Bowles kept on living till 1999. I was wondering if he wrote this scenario as a sort of a metaphor reflecting on his own life and dismantling relationship.

From the famous and truly extraordinary Italian cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro's view, this is a declaration of love to Morocco and its impressive and breathtaking landscapes, culture and nomadic life; a magnificent visual feast and one may even smell all the spices, swatting flies, feel the grit of sand between the teeth, start sweating and get one's blood boiling, not only due to the local heat but also to the carnal sultriness, whilst watching the screen!

Full frontal nudity and a few sensual yet tasteful very erotic scenes and therefore I rate it 16+.

The gorgeous main-theme of the soundtrack is a total tearjerker to me...for sentimentalists only!

Noticed that they drink a lot of MUMM Champagne, oh! how French, and that Eric Vu-An, famous Ballet dancer and ex Etoile de L'Opera de Paris had a secondary very seductive role in this typical Bertolucci epic.


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