Reviewed byRichard van SantenVote: 9/10/10
This is one of my all time favorite movies. But... and this is a majorbut... at least part of my appreciation stems from the fact that I watchedit several times and that I've also read the book (by Paul Bowles) two orthree times. So both works of art (since the book is most definitely a workof great art) tend to blend together in my mind.
I started by watching the movie though, without any previous knowledge onthe novel, nor on Paul Bowles. I was impressed by the powerful imagery(theater! not dvd) and chilled by psychological the harshness of the plot. Iwas charmed the first time I saw the film but I fell in love when I saw it asecond time, which was after I'd read the novel. Maybe this means that thefilm doesn't 'make it on its own', but to me that's not a problem. And ifyou are, like me, gripped by the movie I can really recommend the novel formore 'in depth' .
Some people here seem to think that there's no plot or just a very thin one.I disagree. It's not directly on the surface though. You'll have toconcentrate and pay attention to dig it up. If you don't like that or feelthat a movie should just willingly present itself to you, than this is notyour movie.
Reviewed bykatiekeeneVote: 8/10/10
Bernardo Bertolucci co-wrote and directed the film of the classic postWW2 novel by author, Paul Bowles, who also narrates.
The opening shot (after the credits roll over 1947 New York City and aship disembarks from its port) is of Port's (John Malkovich) face as heawakens in a North African hotel room, the same scene that opens in thenovel. 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 cameinto the fly-ridden hotel lobby in the hot sultry desert nowhere, Iknew I'd love to hate them.
John Malkovich is seduced by a street-smart, young Arab who beckons himto 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'snarrative of setting, characters, and plot is dramatically envisionedand colored by the reader's point of view and imagination. We literallymake the story ours; so when we watch the film version, we tend tojudge the director's interpretation seriously.
Bertolucci's vision was entertaining and realized well, especially thelead character: the vast Sahara Desert, and exotic ambiance; thecinematography was beautiful. i look forward to watching it on DVD.
Reviewed bycataclyzm68Vote: 10/10/10
At some point in the last 100 years.....there is one film that islikely to stand out as truly exceptional. Not surprisingly, such a filmmight not be well received by the critics or even be a great success atthe box office. True brilliance finds its own place in people's heartsand this film has every ingredient to make it the kind of film peoplewill talk about in a hundred years time. Unlike so many films "created"today with lacklustre characters and inept and one dimensional acting -the sheltering sky is moving and funny and ingenious because it offerstrue artistic and moving portrayals of the ending of a long termrelationship amidst the kind of locations the most adventurousbackpacker might not know about. Every film is about human meaning andshould guide us to know what the author felt and experienced. Somehowthe sheltering sky reaches into your heart by honestly portraying theemotions of the complexity of loving another human being. It isn'tpretentious or dull as dishwasher art house cinema. It belongs in acategory of its own and to anyone who loves beautiful art and poignantand moving story's that go beyond the solar plexus: you will truly loveand treasure the experience of this work of art that so many failed to"get". Yes....good films happen. Great films occur from time totime....but the Sheltering sky is neither of these two things....it isthe most honest and beautiful and emotionally mature work of cinemathat I have ever seen. This film makes us feel good about beinghuman...because it shows us how flawed and wonderful we are despite ourlack of honesty even with ourselves. The sheltering sky will break yourheart and and bring you to life. It will lift you and make you feellike repainting the cistine chapel. It is a brave and noble friend of afilm...that wants us to see beauty and pain in all its glory. If you'venever seen it......I wish I were you watching it for the first timeagain. Go get it.! Robert. ps. if you've read the book....don't watchit! no film is going to match your own interpretation of a favouritebook...but this movie stands on its own two feet and with some grace atthat.
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.