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  • Sheltering Sky [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Sheltering Sky [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000696IB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,632 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mark Antony on 28 Mar. 2004
Format: DVD
The Sheltering Sky is based on Paul Bowles novel, relating how an American couple attempted to rekindle their marriage by journeying into the heart of the Sahara desert. As if afraid of confronting the tensions between them, Port (John Malkovich) agrees to take along with them the wealthy playboy Tunner, at least for the first part of their journey. And so creating a "menage-a-trois" situation, with Port later realising his true feelings for his wife Kit (Debra Winger)But fate deals them a savage hand, as the harsh, unforgiving terrain of the Sahara makes it's own impact on their destiny.
The film owes much to the superb music score, a haunting passionate love theme, played in an austere way, like two people in love, yet both afraid to commit, hinting not only at their concealed passion, but also inner loneliness. With many attractive Arabic themes also.
If you prefer action films, don't think about buying this one. Some may find it long, introspective, and at times, ambiguous, with the narrative often giving way to somethig akin to a national geographic documentary. The remaining leading character spoke only a handful of words for the last three quarters of an hour..But a beautiful, lush, almost hypnotic journey which lovers of Africa will not want to miss.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Almont on 24 Mar. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I found this movie stunning. Visually compelling and emotionally harrowing. The director Bertolucci was nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie, and I can see why.
The film manages to capture what it is actually like travelling in Africa. I've been on a similar journey, and I found it quite scary, although somewhat cathartic to watch from the comfort of my own sofa, the gradual loss of identity and alienation we Westerners can feel surrounded by a landscape with such a strong presence and a culture that is so different.
This movie must have been very hard work to make. Shots such as Debra Winger going for a walk along a sand dune in perfect synchronisation with a train of camels in the background don't come easy, and yet look utterly natural.
I found Malkovitch's performance irritating, but compelling, and Debra Winger convincing too. The minor characters - which include the woman who plays the manager in Dinner Ladies - were a bit over-the-top, but provide a kind of grotesque comic relief - leering and unnerving.
The Africans, with their strong faces, haunting vocalising and monotonous music are the leit motif of the film. No sentimental, easy score here to accompany the desert. Just the real thing.
Although I haven't read the Paul Bowles' book, I am sure Bertolucci made a respectful and serious attempt to convey its meaning. He should have won the Golden Globe!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ex nihilo on 25 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
this film has a haunting quality which makes it almost frightening. Although the young American couple, who are protagonists of this film, travel deeper and deeper into the North African desert in search of a self-revelation that will help them save their relation, they only find self-destruction. In the midst of the frightening nothingness of the inmense landscapes, and the still more frightening nothingness of the increasingly evident impossibility of communication (and not only with the natives), each of them feels compelled to confront what they really are, to look inside themselves. What they see there finally destroys them in a shattering moment (superbly performed) of true, if unbearable, revelation. A very good film, although it doesn't follow many of the aspects of the novel that would help the audience to understand better this story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Sept. 2014
Format: DVD
I read Paul Bowles' darkly introspective 1949 novel "The Sheltering Sky" some years ago and wanted to see this 1990 movie directed by Bernardo Bertolucci before rereading the book. Set in French North Africa following WW II, "The Sheltering Sky" tells the story of three educated, idle, and callow Americans who decide to visit North Africa for an indeterminate time and purpose. Both the book and the film focus on a failing marriage and on the folly of traveling without understanding to a new and markedly unfamliiar culture. To a greater degree than the book, the film emphasizes the failed marriage aspect of the novel. The film changes the novel substantially, but film is a different medium and the outline of Bowles' book is recognizable. The movie was high-budget, featured famous actors in Debra Winger as Kit, John Malkovich as her husband Port and Campbell Scott as the couple's friend Tunner. The movie failed financially at the box office and received mixed reviews.

The film combines some strongly appealing features with some serious weaknesses. The major strength of the movie lies in its cinematography and in the evocative scenes of the Sahara Desert, of village streets, buses over dusty roads, urban areas in which French and Arabic culture are mixed, nightclubs, and a variety of hotels. Together with the scenes of Africa, the movie opens with a surprisingly effective collage of the vibrant New York City that the three travelers are leaving behind. The scenery is gorgeous throughout and it is combined with some effective, though mixed, acting from the principals and from secondary characters. Several scenes between Winger and Malkovich are poignantly done as Kit and Port try to understand one another and to rekindle their passion.
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