Beyond the Clouds (1995)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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A mosaic of four stories about love and desire tied together by the story of a filmmaker who observes the relationships of young couples. The first episode, "Chronicle of a Love That Never Was," follows a young traveler to Ferrara who falls in love with a woman he meets, but falls asleep in his room and leaves her waiting in vain. Two years later they meet again, but he chooses to leave rather than consummate his desire for his ideal love. The second episode, "The Girl, the Crime," has the filmmaker wandering through Portofino and sleeping with a pretty young boutique owner who confesses that she has killed her father. The third episode, "Don't Try to See Me Again," takes place in Paris as two jilted lovers become attracted to one another. The final episode, "This Body of Mud," takes place in Aix-en-Provence and tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a young woman who has devoted her life to God and views her body as nothing more than a vessel to transcend. … More
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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Clouds
There are moments of such astounding visual power in Michelangelo Antonioni's film Beyond the Clouds that you are all but transported through the screen to a place where the physical and emotional weather fuse into a palpable sadness.
There are a lot of beautiful things in Beyond the Clouds: the style, the settings, the bodies of young men and women-many of them beautiful in the vaguely blank way that models are.
Antonioni's dreamy, pretentious fickle-finger-of-fate mini-tales struggle to wrestle with love and desire, but truck in adolescent ideas and delight in nothing so much as undressing their many young actresses.
It's [the] compelling sense of mystery, of the endless search and its undercurrent of loneliness, that sets this great filmmaker apart.
Audience Reviews for Beyond the Clouds
At best, "Beyond the Clouds" is a multi-angled look at the delicacy of romance. At worst, it's like Antonioni channeling Zalman King. Just another made-for-cable softcore flick. The corny use of mood music -- including poor Van Morrison -- doesn't help, and is truly appalling at times.
In what may be his most embarrassing role since "Making Mr. Right," John Malkovich plays an American director wandering the rustic streets of Italy, seeking inspiration for his next film. He doesn't have many lines, and mostly just looks vacantly inquiring. This simple premise provides the framework for observing various romantic vignettes -- five central ones, plus a short, sentimental scene with old pros Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau. Typically for Antonioni, none of the segments except the last one (starring Irene Jacob as a pious woman being pursued by an oily suitor) have any real payoff. The stories just drift into view, then fade away again. Peter Weller and Jean Reno add further star charisma, but not much else.
In this artificial world, sexual chemistry between strangers is a given, mainly based on heavy breathing, solemn walks, ponderous gazes and stilted philosophical musings such as "Voices never become part of you like other sounds" and "It's strange -- we always want to live in someone's imagination." Otherwise, the motivations for hopping into bed can be hard to understand, particularly in the case of world-class beauty Sophie Marceau being immediately drawn to pale, wormy Malkovich. Marceau's sequence is the lamest of all, but its gratuitous nudity will please...well, just about anyone who enjoys looking at naked women. In particular, there is one needless, lingering shot of a full-frontal Marceau which is pure cheesecake. Thank you, Signore Antonioni!
At least two other slim beauties parade their physical charms, but it's minor compensation. Arguably, the film's best (and most "Antonioni-esque") moment is a solitary scene with Malkovich reflecting at an overcast beach, where ocean waves and wind-swept sand magically blend into one eerie landscape. Gorgeous.
Eventually, Malkovich's character wraps up the action by noting "The director's profession is a very particular one." It's hard to think of a movie with a worse final tag line.
the mist is surreal, and casts a spell, a sleeping spell that is. largely a disappointment, given that it was Antonioni's last
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