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, invites to an inner travel, as Antonioni says “towards the true image of that absolute and mysterious reality that nobody will ever see”.
This multi-part drama (by elderly, speech-impaired 83 year-old master Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni with German/Dutch co-director Wim Wenders) was an artsy, erotic, puzzling and pretentious group of four interconnected vignettes or short stories (based on Antonioni’s own book “That Bowling Alley on the Tiber”). Each one was about the romantic obsession of male-female relationships between strangers coming together under chance circumstances, with plentiful female nudity. It was a box-office hit in Europe, but made little impact in the US.
The film was set up by having a wrap-around device to frame the stories. John Malkovich (as a wandering, imaginative American film director akin to Antonioni), was searching for locales for stories and filming. He pretentiously spoke:
“..we know that behind every image revealed, there is another image more faithful to reality, and in back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see….”
In the first story, the film’s couple had a chance meeting in a small Italian town of Ferrara at a hotel where they were both staying – they were city water pump technician Silvano (Kim Rossi-Stuart) and slender, beautiful schoolteacher Carmen (Ines Sastre). She waited for him in her room, but he fell asleep while waiting for the right moment. Then the two reconnected three years later after they ran into each other at the cinema. They had a non-touching ‘perfect’ and unconsummated sexual encounter. Silvano moved his hand tantalizingly over willing Carmen’s naked chest, especially over her too-perfect breasts – without physically touching her and then inexplicably left her apartment (with her lying in only her panties and physically untarnished on the bed) without following through on their mutual attraction.
In the second episode, “The Girl, the Crime…” the director met a shapely seaside Portofino shop clerk credited as The Girl (Sophie Marceau), stalked her through narrow alleyways, and then made love to her in his hotel room as the murderess (although acquitted) admitted that she stabbed her father to death 12 times.
The third story set in Paris combined “The Wheel” and “Don’t Try to Find Me,” about married New Yorker Roberto (Peter Weller) caught in a three-year relationship between his drunken wife Patricia (Fanny Ardant) and his Italian mistress Olga (Chiara Caselli) whom he met in a cafe.
Tags: Al di là delle nuvole, Al di là delle nuvole Online, Chiara Caselli, Fanny Ardant, Free movies 1995, Inés Sastre, Irène Jacob, Jean Reno, John Malkovich, Kim Rossi Stuart, Peter Weller, Sophie Marceau, Vincent Pérez