“The Sheltering Sky” (based on Paul Bowles’ novel) depicts the spiritual voyage of a young and intelligent American couple in Northern Africa – with a hope to rejuvenate their love for each other. Life in a country of hunting for achievements and success made their ability for psychological intimacy as thin as a wallet without banknotes.

During their trip they encounter various people – enigmatic, trivial, “dangerous” or frighteningly real, until their “pilgrimage” ends in a tragedy. The husband’s death transforms the wife/widow from a frivolous and a vain intellectual poseur into a secularly spiritual person dedicated to lonely contemplation about life (according to the literary canon of Paul Bowles who is playing himself in the film).

Port (John Malkovich) and Kit’s (Debra Winger) emotional togetherness (feelings for each other, intonations, pantomimes of mutuality, points of agreements and conflict) is elaborated by director and actors with the exactitude of a musical score we, viewers have to transform in our perception into the music of emotions. Actors’ psychological subtlety added to characters’ sophistication – creates an overwhelming spectacle of personal relations with its elegiac and dissonant moments. To see the film – the human emotions and reactions contained by the limitless African landscapes – is a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.

BerBer is sharing with Debra Winger and John Malkovich his concept of Port-and-Kit‘s amorous relationship.

BerBer with two British actors (Jill Bennett and Timothy Spall) playing characters personifying the two “poisonous flowers” of the British colonial empire, who are psychologically victimized by its glory

Port is impressed with the Arab women’s emotional responsiveness (based on recognition of common humanity between people – the ability erased even from the memory of people like his wife)

Port (in the center) is looking at the “sheltering sky” with the hope to somehow, recover (with its help) the mutual emotional reverie in his relationship with his wife.

For a long time Port was dreaming to bring Kit into African landscape to “shelter” their relationship in nature’s womb and to reignite in his wife the feeling of primordial importance of their togetherness.

But the awakening of the sensation of the sacredness of Port and Kit’s love inside Kit’s soul is possible only after Port’s death. In an elegantly semantically symbolic final scene of the film Kit joins the “Paul Bowles’ club” of solitude to contemplate about individual life and human death.

Posted on July 24, 2011 –   Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Sheltering Sky” (1990) – Spirituality of Loss as a Step towards Spirituality of Being by Acting-Out Politics