Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky; Drama, UK/ Italy/ Algeria, 1990; D: Bernardo Bertolucci, S: Debra Winger, John Malkovich, Campbell Scott, Jill Bennett, Timothy Spall

Porter and his wife Kit leave New York in order to take a trip across North Africa, hoping to refresh their marriage. The slimy Tunner, who is secretly in love with Kit, came with them. One night, Porter leaves the city and finds a prostitute in a nearby tent, but gets attacked by thieves. He manages to save himself and continues his journey with Kit and Tunner across the Sahara. After an affair with Kit, Tunner leaves early for the town Mossad. Porter is contaminated with typhus and dies. Kit joins a few Beduins and lands in Nigeria. There she is found by an ambassador.

Considering it's low reputation, forgotten drama "The Sheltering Sky" is a surprisingly skilfull, ambitious and qualitative achievement, whereas she even won a few awards (Golden Globe for best score and a nomination for best director Bernardo Bertolucci; a BAFTA for best cinematography). Bertolucci is an arguably rather overrated director who is often tedious, and not even this film is an exception (the last half an hour an intolerably overstretched), but it is adorned with minuteness of details (Kit and Porter have intercourse on the desert; a desert storm brings sand in the room through the door) while the neat visual style of suggestive landscapes reminds a little bit of classic epic "Lawrence". Also, the sole context is interesting, in which a couple travels through exotic places is search for their idenitity, but gets assimilated by them.


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