Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Film Pairing — You Are The Foreigner

How about Tangiers and then to Venice? These two movies ooze a sense of place. You will be transported. You will have the experience of not just visiting a foreign place, but of being foreign and … lost.

Sometimes I’m drawn to films because of the actors or directors and sometimes the authors on whose work the film was based. By pairing The Sheltering Sky and the Comfort of Strangers (both released in 1990), an incredible amount of diverse talent comes together with the added cinematic treat of two very exotic settings.

Writer’s Writer Paul Bowles’ stark narrative-style in Sheltering Sky is brought to the screen by a less than stark Bernardo Bertolucci. John Malkovich plays half a couple couple seeking reconciliation through foreign adventure (they are travelers, not tourists, they say) who lose their way. Understatement alert, here.

Comfort is based on a novella by Ian McEwan adapted by Harold Pinter and directed by Paul Shrader. It features Christopher Walken. Though it also has Rupert Everett and Helen Mirren, I repeat, it features Christopher Walken. In Venice a young couple expects a romantic interlude in one of the world’s most romantic cities. But there is a more ominousVenice not usually found in romantic novels and films.

Berber whiskey for the first (it’s only mint tea) and several Bellinis for the second. I suspect there will be moments in both films when viewers will be as lost as the characters. Who says bad dreams can’t be fascinating? Being lost is only fitting and very much part of the evening. And unlike the people caught on celluloid, you’ll wake up in the morning feeling fine.

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