14 January 2013 | AccidntlTourist
A Courageous Woman's Endless Search for the Man of Her Dreams
I watched this on ThisTV and hope someday to watch it unbroken, but here are some thoughts:
The male lead is a boorish, self-absorbed jerk; cynically rejecting the status quo. But, I suppose he might be considered the "protagonist" - though more of an observer - our eyes and ears in this quest for "the sailor".
Vanessa Redgrave was mostly wonderful and at times beautiful to look at as well.
I thought her character seemed so heroic (and the real protagonist). Maybe I've misjudged her, but I thought her quest for that perfect lover - the love she lost (imaginary or real?) - was a heroic quest.
And, what a brave (even pioneering) movie - a wealthy widow sailing the Mediterranean into exotic ports with her burly handsome crew. She, a sensualist, sleeping with any man she fancied and then setting sail (a twist on the old merchant sailor's practice of "leaving a man in every port" - nearly). Her crew joked about her sexual exploits behind her back and speculated as to whether her "Sailor from Gibraltar" really even existed (or just an excuse to go "cruising" for men).
At its foundation, the film's outlook seems Existential Nihilism - life has no purpose and, is there even such a "thing" as love?
Is that all there is - just to exist and then die? Shall we give in to our hedonist desires - and just go on from one day to the next - on an endless cruise? Maybe love is all there is - and "mystery".
Was there a Sailor? Did she really once know the greatest love? Will she search for him forever, sailing from port to port? Will there finally be someone to join her in her search and shelter her from the heckling world - as it closes in around her - to love her as she is?
This film, though flawed and uneven in spots - is IMO a gem. There are so many precious (I think) moments, like when she goes on safari into the African bush (searching for her sailor - in the company of cannibals) and stands eye-to-eye with a beautiful statuesque African woman - peering into her eyes - trying to discern if she has been with her man (and would she give him up?).
I'm looking forward to watching this film again.
And: I don't say this very often, and with all due respect to this work of art - I would really, really like to see this movie remade! Please!