Lisbon, Marseilles, Naples, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Aden, and Bombay. Along with a university teacher and her little daughter, we embark on a long journey, experiencing different cultures and civilizations.
A meditation on civilization. July, 2001: friends wave as a cruise ship departs Lisbon for Mediterranean ports and the Indian Ocean. On board and on day trips in Marseilles, Pompeii, Athens, Istanbul, and Cairo, a professor tells her young daughter about myth, history, religion, and wars. Men approach her; she's cool, on her way to her husband in Bombay. After Cairo, for two evenings divided by a stop in Aden, the captain charms three successful, famous (and childless) women, who talk with wit and intellect, each understanding the others' native tongue, a European union. The captain asks mother and child to join them. He gives the girl a gift. Helena sings. Life can be sweet.Written by
This was Irene Papas' third and final collaboration with Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, and also Papas' last movie before she retired. See more »
A Good Film, Candid Camera Work, Real Life Portrayal.
I saw this film at the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2004 and enjoyed it. There I've said it, only the second person to post a positive review for this film. Allow me to explain....
I don't consider this film to be boring, unless you are trying to compare it to the latest digitally blurred, DTS surround, multi million dollar blockbuster. You are missing the point of this film. It's about reality! When you next come out of the cinema or leave the TV with it's DVD surround system, having gorged on Hollywoods finest, go outside, get on a bus/train/plane. Take a seat and really observe those people around you. Then remember the characters in this film and you will notice that, lo and behold, parents do speak to their children in the way that Leonor Silveira speaks to her daughter. And that her daughter, played by Filipa de Almeida, saying over and over "Why is that.....?" is a true reflection of real life.
The interruptions to the history lessons of the mother, by the Greek Orthodox priest and the Portugese actor are also totally plausible and well observed by both actors and director together. As a 10 year old on a family holiday to historic Italy, having the same history lessons as shown in the film, I too bumped into a british actor/entertainer. He was on holiday with his wife in Rome, when my father asked him if he was in fact an actor. He said that he was, politely introduced his wife and shook hands with myself and my sisters, leaving us gobsmacked to have met a 'real' star.
As for the performances of the euro-stars in this film, again I say look at real life. I live in Hong Kong where 7 million of the population speak cantonese as their first language. In work and social situations both the chinese and westerners hold multi-lingual conversations. And I have been in situations in France and elsewhere in europe, when converstaions take place in more than one language. And yes, they are 'disjointed', but they do exist and occur a lot more often than people think.
Finally, the film itself. It is easy to watch and enjoy. The progress may seem a little 'regimental', but after all a day consists of a sunrise and a sunset. So for this film to punctuate each destination with a boat departure and the bow of the ship plowing the waves, does move things along. The ending was a bit short and sharp, but still reflected the style of the rest of the film in its realism. No long drawn out scenes of pandemonium or touching 'overacted' farewells.
So Hollywood please take note of this film, it may not pay big money, it may not get the sensive receptors buzzing. But, it shows realism, a flare for observation, and some boring bit's. Real life is like that, sorry if that is a shock to any celluloid junkies out there.
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