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.
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 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.
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.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Corto Maltese, a sailor and an adventurer, is hired by a Chinese secret society to steal Russian gold carried on an armored train travelling at fast speed through Siberia.
Compilation of three adventures of laconic adventurer Corto Maltese set in 1917. He searches for El Dorado in Venezuela, finds a suitcase every political faction in Honduras will kill for and helps Sinn Féin fight the British army.
Compilation of three stories about laconic adventurer Corto Maltese set in 1918. He infiltrates a fort where young prince Saud is being held, tries to stop a war between two African tribes and investigate the secretive "Leopard-Men".
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
Although South Korean animation companies are usually contracted by US and European companies to animate various Western films and series for them, this film has the unique, if dubious, honor of being animated by North Korea's animators. See more »
Being a big fan of Hugo Pratt's comic, I was pleased with this animated adaptation of Corto Maltese. The plot was most faithful to the original graphic novel, the dialogue being used almost verbatim. This must've been somewhat risky, since the story isn't exactly easy to follow. Animated features cost more than comics, so they also need bigger audiences, and the film-makers must've been tempted to tighten the pace and cut some of the historical references. Luckily, they haven't done so.
The drawing style is also truthful to Pratt, and the animation is as good as it can be without a Disney budget. Regarding this, one could even say that the faithfulness of the adaptation is a limiting factor. Pratt's contemplative and somewhat static form of storytelling is perhaps unfitting for an animated film, since animation has a different set of dynamics than comics.
The biggest flaw with the film is something that couldn't have been helped: the original comic is a long series of stories, of which the film can offer only a slice. Pratt's world isn't the easiest to enter, and seeing one film (or reading one comic, to that matter) probably isn't enough to make one see what's so special about Corto Maltese. The friendship between Corto and Rasputin, one of the most interesting aspects of the comic, is well conveyed in this particular story. But to wholly understand this relationship one needs to know their past - which the film can only refer to. The film-makers' choice of not starting from the beginning is understandable, since the first Corto Maltese story isn't the best or the most filmable of the bunch.
To sum it up: while I liked the film very much, someone not familiar with the comic probably doesn't get as much out of it. The best thing this film can do is to acquaint such people with Pratt's masterful work.
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