Beyond the Clouds (1995)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Romance

Beyond the Clouds (1995) Poster

Made of four short tales, linked by a story filmed by Wim Wenders. Taking place in Ferrara, Portofino, Aix en Provence and Paris, each story, which always a woman as the crux of the story, ... See full summary »


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17 December 2000 | burneyfan
Beyond reality
SPOILER: After the ecstatic reviews it received in the press, I found this film

disappointing. I can only imagine that the critics were being kind to an

ill, old man of 82 and overly respectful of the reputation of a once

great film director. Visually it is very attractive with beautiful shots of a lakeside

village and very atmospheric and poetic shots of alleyways and streets

in rain and mist. But when it comes to the actions and motivations of

the people in the film it is a let-down. I like to be able to believe in

and identify with the characters in a film and I couldn't do that here.

There are four stories in the film and I will mention only two - the two

that seem to me the most trite and pointless.

The first story stars two extremely good-looking newcomers to the screen

(Kim Rossi Stuart & Ines Sastre.) He stops his car to ask her the way to the nearest hotel, and because he

is so good-looking she gives him the name of her hotel. They see each

other during the day and when they retire to their rooms at night across

the landing from each other, she lies awake waiting for the knock on the

door that never comes. In the morning she leaves early without seeing

him. It is two years before they see each other again and this time

their relationship progresses a little further - they get to be naked on

the bed together. But he behaves in a very odd way indeed; for some five

minutes he runs his hands over her body within a millimetre of her skin

but without actually touching her. What she thinks is going on as she

lies there passively, feeling nothing, is anybody's guess. Then after

five minutes, still without having touched her, he gets up abruptly and

without speaking a word leaves. Is that the action of a sane man? You

wonder why he bothered to take his clothes off if he intended to do so

little. She, presumably feeling hurt and frustrated, rushes to the

window to see him walking off into the distance. They give each other a

feeble wave. End of story. John Malkovich's deep lugubrious voice-over

tells us that he behaved in this way either because of folly or pride.

Well it was certainly folly - and certainly unbelievable. Or could it

have been impotence? Could this story be saying something about the

impotence of an old man?

In another segment of the film, Malkovich's character is attracted to a

young woman (Sophia Marceau) he sees in a shop window. He can't take his

eyes off her and just stands there entranced. She reacts in the same

way. He goes into the shop and their silent fascination continues. I

felt uncomfortable for both of them. Was something momentous about to

happen? It would seem so and our interest is awakened, our expectations

aroused. But no; we are just being lead up the garden path to nowhere.

He sits outside and eventually she joins him. She tells him only one

thing about herself, that she has murdered her father by stabbing him

twelve times. Malkovich shows no surprise and the fact seems irrelevant.

They then go to her place and they have sex. But this is not the

beginning of some deep, meaningful relationship as the earlier

enchantment would lead us to suppose. Oh no. When he's had his sex he's

had enough and like the previous male protagonist, he just walks away.

Another wretched piece of behaviour and

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Release Date:

27 October 1995


French, English, Italian

Country of Origin

France, Germany, Italy

Filming Locations

Ferrara, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,596 5 December 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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