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Anapus debesu (1995) Online

Anapus debesu (1995) Online
Original Title :
Al di là delle nuvole
Genre :
Movie / Drama / Romance
Year :
Directror :
Michelangelo Antonioni,Wim Wenders
Cast :
Fanny Ardant,Chiara Caselli,Irène Jacob
Writer :
Tonino Guerra,Michelangelo Antonioni
Type :
Time :
1h 50min
Rating :
Anapus debesu (1995) Online

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". {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview, first billed only:
Fanny Ardant Fanny Ardant - Patricia
Chiara Caselli Chiara Caselli - Mistress
Irène Jacob Irène Jacob - The Girl
John Malkovich John Malkovich - The Director
Sophie Marceau Sophie Marceau - The Girl
Vincent Perez Vincent Perez - Niccolo
Jean Reno Jean Reno - Carlo
Kim Rossi Stuart Kim Rossi Stuart - Silvano (as Kim Rossi-Stuart)
Inés Sastre Inés Sastre - Carmen (as Ines Sastre)
Peter Weller Peter Weller - Husband
Marcello Mastroianni Marcello Mastroianni - The Man of All Vices
Jeanne Moreau Jeanne Moreau - Friend
Enrica Antonioni Enrica Antonioni - Boutique Manager
Carine Angeli Carine Angeli
Alessandra Bonarotta Alessandra Bonarotta - (as Alessandra Bonarota)

In order to obtain the covering insurance needed to put the film into production, Michelangelo Antonioni (who was still recovering from a severely debilitating stroke) had to agree to have a secondary director on staff, ready to take over from him at any time. His choice, Wim Wenders, even provided the prologue and epilogue for the film.

The opening fogbound scenes are a reminder of a similar passage in Antonioni's own Identificazione di una donna (1982).

Michelangelo Antonioni's first film after suffering a stroke in 1985.

One of the segments reunites Marcello Mastroianni with Jeanne Moreau who appeared together in Antonioni's La notte (1961).

User reviews



Beyond The Clouds is a hauntingly beautiful, elegiac work of art. The overall softness of the light that this movie is bathed in, makes you want to touch the screen. The autumnal mood conjured up could only been achieved by a director who has seen many summers of experience. Or, to put it another way, an old man. I know of no other movie that captures and uses the softness of light and seasonal mood with such ravishing quality as Beyond The Clouds. Nearly all the people in this film are beautiful, unless your idea of a beautiful woman is a pneumatic blond bimbo, that is. The dialogue doesn't really matter too much, not that there is much of it anyway, and as for storylines, forget it. Some films exist just as visual experiences, this is one of them. Don't bother if you want "simple entertainment",this not for you.

I could enthuse about the visual perfection of this movie for days, but I won't. If you are at all interested in cinematography, photography, film direction etc., watch this film.


Here's another Antonioni that will be rediscovered again and again as soon as it comes out on tape or DVD. I saw it a few months ago when it ran for the first time (even in metropolitan movie capital L.A.!)for a couple of weeks and then disappeared (art house audiences seem to have opted for their own special territory, where older favorites like Antonioni and Resnais are only welcome as occasional curiosities).

At first I was disappointed, thought the pace to be unbearably boring, and that the man had lost a chance (for years Antonioni had found it difficult to find financing)at an advanced age to add another masterpiece to his canon; but knowing Antonioni for what he was and how I had at first reacted to Blow-Up and the Passenger, I refused to pass judgment until I had seen the film again. I went back the next day and I should not have been surprised that the film kept pulling me in, making me aware of things I had thought about and lost track of throughout my life, driving home, in a contemporary setting, points exposed for the first time some forty years ago in 'L'Aventurra,' forming an environment of subtle moods so characteristcally and fascinatingly alienated in tone (and quite comedic actually) that I couldn't get enough. The scene with Malkovich sitting on the fancy colored swings on the windswept beach, with the weather so beautifully silver skied, and the Eno/U2 track in the background flowing through at just its rhythm, had been my favorite; it still was, but now the whole film was just as great! What a strange phenomenon, the complex simplicity or the invisible complex which Antonioni's eye alone seems to be able to pick up and communicate. The odd thing is, though it does look at first glance like a softcore porno of some kind and it does feature plenty of sex and the maddeningly gorgeous Sophie Marceau and plently of other international stars to distract you, this film is unmistakably Antonioni's to its core, but you will not sense to what a profound extent, until you have seen it a few times and got used to its rhythm. For example, it is quite a funny film with a deep sense of humor, something I did not notice at first, but was turned on to by another critic, and noticed to much delight on further viewings (4 before they pulled it and would've gone back for more). If this film had been promoted right and people guided to a certain extent as to how to approach it, I have no doubt it would have succeeded on the art house circuit like most of Antonioni's '60s films. But the '60s are no more and the film will have to find its audience on the small screen where half its beauty will be lost even in a letterboxed DVD version (if and when it's released). I urge all film nuts general or esoteric to see 'Beyond the Clouds' and add a piece of magic to the tragic.


I first saw the movie a couple of years ago and was totally and utterly impressed but its sensuality. It is one of the most touching films I have ever seen, though it might appear a little bit pretentious and artificial - too much beautiful, if you will. Anyway, one thing is for sure - the camera man has done a great job - each picture deserves to be cut off the film and displayed as a separate peace of art, comparable to the Chirico's or Bernard Buffet's paintings.

The music forms a perfect background for the story, especially U2's one played between the first and the second novels at the beach scene. As for the casting - I cannot be objective since I like Sophie Marceau and Jean Renaue very much and cannot add more to the praising comments of others.

However, the very fact that many people (critics and those sophisticated in cinema) criticized the movie made me watch it with a more critical eye for the second time. No doubt, the setting is splendid and the casting is gorgeous. But this is somehow not enough to make a comprehensive and cohesive film. The second novel (when Sophie Marceau tells her story to Malcovic is somehow superficial and does not tell much about the motivations of the people involved - was it only about shooting a beautiful and sensual love scene with the naked Marceau or what?). Apparently, it does not add anything to the idea of the movie and even the husky voice of Malcovic is being unable to link it to the main plot.

Other stories are more justified and are really beautifully shot, which indulges many of the logic fallacies within them. The scene when Jean Reneau is overlooking the city through the huge window of his apartment on the top of the high building is absolutely incredible. The feeling of moist air and fine haze, which is being spread by the first "Ferrera" scene can literally be sensed through the screen. No doubt, Antonioni is a great master of shades and semi-shades. My favorite novel is the last one - the most romantic, deep and meaningful - I guess that it the most Antonioni-like one in the whole movie - almost a parable.Probably, the overall positive impression from the movie is mainly due to the last one shot somewhere in a small Ghotic Italian town, with its winding narrow streets and crooked pavements, fountains with the l'eau potable and monumental cathedrals... It was laconic but really touching.

I hope that my impressions and comments on the movie, however chaotic they are would motivate somebody to spend an evening watching it (it works better with the home theater, having somebody caring by your side, than in the movie theater). Enjoy.

I beg your pardon for the imperfect English and any possible misspellings


I was stunned by this film. Afterwards, I didn't even want to see any films for a long time- any other film would be so unsatisfying by comparison.

For many, it may be the worst of Antonioni- very slow, without an engaging conventional story line, microscopic examinations of human emotions and interactions- and the worst of Wenders- verbose, confused transcendentalism. It is composed of short distinct episodes linked by Wenders' typical meandering hero's stream of consciousness, so it doesn't produce the temporary oblivion of escapist cinema.

But for fans, the worst is the best and the disjointed story line is sketching a single poetic image that stretches across the film. Wenders and Antonioni create a discourse between their segments that seeks out the heart of things.


This is a special film if you know the context. Antonioni, in his eighties, had been crippled by a stroke. Mute and half paralyzed, his friends -- who incidentally are the best the film world has -- arranged for him to 'direct' a last significant film. The idea is that he can conjure a story into being by just looking at it. So we have a film: about a director who conjures stories by simple observation. And the matter of the (four) stories is about how the visual imagination defines love.

The film emerges by giving us the tools to bring it into being through our own imagination. The result is pure movie-world: every person (except the director) is lovely in aspect or movement. Some of these women are ultralovely, and they exist in a dreamy misty world of sensual encounter. There is no nuance, no hint that anything exists but what we see; no desire is at work other than what we create.

I know of no other film that so successfully manipulates our own visual yearning to have us create the world we see. He understands something about not touching. No one understands Van Morrison visually like he does. Morrison's Celtic space music is predicated on precisely the same notion: the sensual touch that implies but doesn't physically touch.

Antonioni's redhead wife appears, appropriately as the shopkeeper and she also directs a lackluster 'making of' film that is on the DVD.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.


I was stunned by this film. I have been renting Antonioni's films/rediscovering them, and this film showed me the climax and fruits of his 50 years of directing. What an eye for setting, color, and detail! I have never seen such visual beauty and poetry filmed before. I had to stop after the first story and hold back the tears. Yes, beauty moves me, like it moved Keats to write Ode on a Grecian Urn. This movie is made for the mature, emotionally and intellectually, audience. Those hoping to see physical action and soap opera will be disappointed. I will have to see this film several times before I can truly appreciate it and judge it. This film should be required viewing for all cinematographers and directors.

Possibly a truly great film, on the order of Kurosawa's Dreams.


Although I'm a big fan of his work, and specially his revolutionary masterpieces, I would say this film did not live up to my expectations regarding Antonioni's abilities. In one word, I found myself utterly bored. I could not bring myself to share any emotions with the characters (no matter how hard I tried) and finally gave up on watching it. Malkovich was poorly casted and instead of bringing warmth and real human emotions to the character, made it a drag and sometimes impossible to follow. There are no real links for this four short stories, and least of all Malkovich's ramblings and philosophical (attempts at best) remarks bordering on sunday sermons. If you want good quality film, better stick to the director's earlier works. Sorry!!!


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


I'm not really sure what to make of this movie, especially after seeing a great film like La Notte. Unfortunately I saw this in German during an Antonioni film festival at the Frankfurt Film Museum, so I didn't get to hear Malkovich's great voice. He is supposed to tie together four stories about couples in Italy. However, as good an actor as he is, Malkovich cannot rescue the most ridiculous of the four stories portrayed here: a woman who comes up to him at a waterside cafe near a shop she owns and blurts out about how she killed her father nearby. Then the two of them go home, have sex, and he leaves. It seems as if Antonioni lost the subtlety had in earlier films (like The Passenger) when dealing with sex and replaced it with blatant nudity.

However nonsensical the storyline is, the film features two things that make it watchable: eye and ear candy. The actors and actresses are all beautiful people, and the cinematography is marvelous - scenes in old Italian cities contrasting with a bit in a tall apartment building overlooking a city (reminiscent of La Notte).

The ear candy, however, is what really makes the film worth watching. U2 and Brian Eno collaborated on "Your Blue Room" and "Beach Sequence," both of which set the mood perfectly in the film. The songs are available on "Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1."


The worst segment in this very uneven sketch film is the first, a silly tale of abandonment featuring pretty boy Kim Rossi Stuart and the Lancôme model Inés Sastre. It reeks of chic and product placement. The second episode, with a bored-looking Sophie Marceau is hardly better; we can't care if she stabbed her dad six, twelve or 528 times. Sophie does have a lovely body, however, and the boutique she works in is elegant.

The triangle story is next, with Peter Weller playing a bilingual rich man with a wife (Fanny Ardant, sensational) and a mistress (Chiara Caselli, OK). Fanny's big scene has her smashing a vase then chewing out her straying hubby. She manages to be drunk, angry and horny all at once: I have never seen her act with such power. Pity that the little sequel with Jean Reno meeting Fanny in the empty apartment isn't very effective.

The last segment with Irène Jacob, a pretty girl with a big secret, is a little gem, but it feels tacked-on, not really a part of the picture.


Beyond the Clouds is in many ways the weirdest film I have ever seen. Not for its Cult appeal, gore, or even for its ideas, but because of the elements that combine to make this a masterpiece of cinema. Beyond the Clouds was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, one of Italy's most famous directors. However, if you gave this film only a quick watch-over, passively I mean, it would seem one of those melodramatic and often pointless romances. This movie deserves great attention, to the point of embracing all its cheese. By cheese I don't mean a slice, but a whole brick of cheddar! The music seems like it's from some Italian porno, the story and dialogue like they are from a corny Japanese soap, and the metaphors are so obvious you want to smack yourself on the head.

But once you get passed all this, you are engaged in an existential work of art. The cheese feeds into the subtle filming and draws our attention, perfectly, to what needs to be known. The basic plot is of four chapters, unrelated, and all about love. What we learn is that no matter what happens or what is said, people cannot communicate to each other. Instead they can only communicate through each other. I suppose that's why the dialogue and plot is so cheesy, because the conversations are overly irrational with lack of causality and people's reaction overly melodramatic.

I left that film thinking to myself; maybe all life is one big melodrama. We judge our feelings towards others as real and purposeful. I hate, because I have reason. But what does the hated think? Maybe they think that my hate is stupid and arbitrary. In other words, melodramatic.

So melodrama is actually an existential function. A corny romance is simply human interaction put under a magnifying glass, allowing us to see the futility of who we are and what we do.

This is a great film, I recommend it to all!


A summing up of all the aging, ailing Antonioni's career themes, strengths (visual beauty, a sense of mystery and poetry) and weaknesses (pretentious stiff dialogue, ideas that are sometimes not really all that deep, a penchant for getting beautiful actresses undressed without a lot of justification).

But this is also something quite different than he's ever done, in that these are a series of short stories, loosely tied together by sequences of John Malkovich playing a director looking for his next film (Wim Wenders helped the physically limited Antonioni by directing the Malkovich sections).

By keeping the pieces smaller, I found this more fun, and more moving than most of Antonioni's films. There isn't the chance for the ideas to run as thin, and there seems to be more empathy for his characters now. Humans may be screwed up, but at least Antonioni no longer stands above them judging. One moment actually brought me near tears. The film captures the lonely enigmatic solitude of the artist, and of life itself.


Michelangelo Antonioni is one of the major figures of cinema history, even if most people haven't heard of him. He was nowhere near as prolific as filmmakers such as Fellini, Godard, Bergman, Kurosawa, or Truffaut. And his films now are difficult to procure. There are only a few readily available, and I have seen all of those but one (Il Grido, which has recently been released on DVD by Kino). Four of the five Antonioni films that I've seen, L'Avventura, Red Desert, Blowup, and The Passenger are among the best films ever made. One other that I've seen, L'Eclisse, I think probably is also to be included among them; if only the video that I saw would not have been so horribly defiled! Now I have seen Beyond the Clouds.

I had always heard that it was a great failure, but it was difficult to lower my expectations of Antonioni. Wim Wenders' presence did not help, either. Throughout the film, there were many things that annoyed me, and also many things that I loved. I think a pros/cons list will help here.


1. The writing seems weak. All the stories told have little depth, it seems, and we find out almost nothing about anybody we meet in the picture. Usually, Antonioni's writing can be used to show just how well a film can be written, and his characters are the definition of "complex." But in another way I can also see the style of writing presented here in a more positive light, which I'll comment on later.

2. The acting is really weak. I cannot in any way defend it. There is not one performer who isn't subpar here, and most of the actors are second-rate actors in the first place (Irene Jacob excepted). John Malkovich is one of the hammiest actors who's ever lived. The only thing I ever liked him in was Being John Malkovich, because that film delightfully (and, apparently, unnoticeably, at any rate by Malkovich himself) mocked his very pretensions, which are in full force in this film.

3. Casual nudity - okay, no one on Earth wants to see John Malkovich buck naked. Fortunately, if you are a fan of female nudity, nearly every woman in the film, including Bond girl Sophie Marceau, appears naked from head to foot with everything in between (sorry, Irene Jacob fans, no nudity from her!). I myself don't mind nudity when it is called for, like in Last Tango in Paris, but the rampant nudity in this film makes it seem like European softcore along the lines of Emmanuel. Actually, the softcore it really reminded me of was Red Shoe Diaries. The light jazz by Van Morrison just adds to this effect. Antonioni was once a proto-feminist. Many of his most famous films were from a distinctly female point of view. And when men did take over in his films, they were very unlikable. Here, the women are often exploited.


1. Cinematography - okay, we have two of the best visual directors of all time working on this film, the cinematography ought to be outstanding. It is, generally. There are a couple of visual moments that are absolutely spectacular, some of the best I've ever seen. This includes an ethereal scene where Malkovich explores a deserted playground on a beach. He sits on a swing, spins around in it with a shot that involves a beautifully moving camera, and then we watch a strong wind blow sand around on the beach (Antonioni loves showing the wind in his films). Another great visual scene involves a camera gliding about a spiral staircase near the end of the film.

2. Mood - The nonchalant flow of the narrative actually adds a lot of mood. The title of the film is entirely appropriate. You do feel as if you're witnessing something beyond the clouds. Certain stories are left in suspension, never to be resolved, and it feels right. By the final scene, Beyond the Clouds had nearly won me over. Still, there were too many things wrong with it to suggest it to non-Antonioni fans, but Antonioni fans owe it to themselves to see it once. 6/10


"You love only when you're after something inaccessible; you only love what you don't possess." - Proust

Michelangelo Antonioni wrote "That Bowling Alley On The Tiber" in the mid 1980s. Despite being a compilation of disparate short stories, the book contained a single overarching narrative; that of a director who constantly collects images, with an eye toward spinning these images into films.

Misperceived as a collection of disconnected short films, Antonioni's "Beyond The Clouds" tells the same story: the tale of a director who collects - and works simultaneously forwards and backwards from - images, investing them all with content. This act of an artist conjuring art out of absence, of imbuing images with fantastical pasts, presents and futures, then becomes Antonioni's metaphor for "love". Love, in other words, is illusionary, and is always defined by the visual imagination.

Cast because of his resemblance to Antonioni, the film stars actor John Malkovich as a wandering film director. Opening shot: Malkovich floating through clouds, entering a dream space. The artist then spins these clouds into the misty streets of Italy. Here he speaks of the "vital impulse" which "drives life", and "deceives us into creating pasts and futures". He then picks up a camera. "Reality exists behind the image," he says. Typical of Antonioni, the film's dialogue has a metaphysical twang.

Malkovich then takes a photograph of a street. From this image he will conjure a story. The film itself consists of numerous stories nested within stories, all of which are spun from things Malkovich sees and all of which charter the disintegration of love's myths.

The film's first story involves an ultra beautiful young man and young woman. Later the young man will conjure the woman up whilst gazing out a hotel window. The hotel is shrouded in fog and water. Hypnotically, incessant traffic flows in the background.

The couple talk: "We all want to live in someone's imagination," he says. Earlier he spoke of mankind's rise in disenchantment. Love, Antonioni implies, is an enchantment that continues to survive. He loves her, he then says, because her eyes are empty, free to be filled by his idealized brush. But their wants are impossible. They retreat to separate bedrooms and fantasize about each other. The film is about the closing of the gap between those two bedrooms.

He conjures her up again after watching a film. They speak, every line about objects being perverted; scents, eyes, coffee leaves which give off signals. Every part of the body is an object to be invested with story; fetishized by the mind's eye. They then climb a flight of stairs up to her apartment. He stands before a window (note the use of windows, elevators, stairs etc throughout the film). He wants her, but can't touch her body, forever separated by a certain gap. From a window, she watches as he leaves.

Malkovich reappears. He studies a beach photograph whilst himself at a beach (reflexively linking masculinized cameras and eyes). From this photograph he spins the tale of a young shop assistant whom he becomes infatuated with. Cue the best "eyeball sex scene" (it's a metaphysical rape!) since "Barry Lyndon", in which a scrumptiously sleazy Malkovich enters the young woman's shop and oozes desire. "Can I help you?" a second woman asks. "Just looking," he tells her. In a brilliant bit of casting, she's played by Antonioni's own wife. Antonioni/Malkovich then rejects his wife and fixates on the younger woman who, realising that she's the property of his fantasies, grows horrified. She poses at a window as he leaves. Later she tells him she's a murderer. Having confronted the tainted image beneath the fiction, he can now touch her. While the film's first sex scene stresses distance, space, this one stresses contact, flesh on flesh, ugliness and beauty co-mingling. He leaves her standing longingly at a window.

The film's subsequent short stories echo in innumerable ways what we've previously seen, each investigating the gap between desire and attainment, imagination and reality; what the enchanted eye and camera take in, the flesh can't hold. As the gap closes, the couples then literally fall apart (apartments stripped, vacated etc). Women, meanwhile, increasingly fight back and start defining how men see.

Unique amongst these stories is one in which an elderly couple discuss the pitfalls of postmodernism and its aesthetic of nostalgia - an era in which artists replicate the work of others is thus tied to love/sex, all of which are desires to nostalgically resurrect and hopelessly merge with "dead images" - and a story about a woman who has unconditionally given herself to God. Thus the film's subsections charter a movement away from awkward first love, to erotic sex, to disillusioned, nihilistic sex, to post-sex old age and contentment to celibacy or spiritual abstinence.

Ultimately, not only is love Nothing (and, paradoxically, the underlying Everything), a gap which cannot be filled, but it is always linked with violence, power, possessiveness, and narcissism. Selfishly, it is one's own ego one loves when "in love". It is one's own ego made real on the imaginary level, as "to love" is "to wish to be loved". A polymorphous perversion, love is a deception involving giving what one does not have. What is "truly sought" in love is thus something experienced as painfully missing from one's life: some comforting sense of absolute belonging and acceptance, love's desire masking a more hidden desire: to gain some control over our own helplessness. Thus true love is to want nothing of someone.

For Antonioni, there is something at the heart of sexuality that doesn't work. While sex is the act through which we hope to reduce or cancel desire, "love" is an insatiable dysfunction. All objects are unsatisfying because there are always other objects. Paradoxically that unbridgeable gap, that inevitable disparity between desire and its object, is what forever drives/inspires man.

10/10 - Moody masterpiece.


If rich people are different from us because they have more money, then film makers are different from us because they think the world cares about their every thought.

This self-indulgent piece of tripe seems to have been made just because the director felt it was time to make another movie, and someone would finance it. Not every trivial idea or reflection is worthy of a movie (unless you are a college film student trying to complete a course). When you don't have anything to say, sometimes it is best to remain quiet.

The visuals are not breath-taking. They are quite ordinary. The dialog is inane and unbelievable. They speak words no one would every sequence together in situations that are beyond imagination. Germaine Greer's zipless f**k is finally brought to the screen. Even if you believe in love at first sight, no one falls into bed as easily as these characters. They screw before they talk. Even more unbelievable is an aging, balding director finding instant sex with the most beautiful chick in town, though gravity is already getting to Miss Marceau at a youthful age.


I discovered this hidden pearl thanks to U2 album Passengers: as they did 2 songs for the movie (beach sequence & blue room), i took a look and the first segment is so incredible, i cut it like a whole movie for me. Two young adults fell in love in the old historical and mysterious Italian town of Ferrara, during a misty winter... Even if they try two times, they can't achieve to make love and however they are deeply connected. I like this kind of romance because it's true that in a way our imaginary stories are better than the real thing! At this time, i was mesmerized by the softness and candor of Ines Sastres and except being a model for Lancome, i have never meet her again. In all cases, their story really grew on me that i read Antonioni original short story and Wender backstage book... Anyway this segment is still very moving to watch over and over: i like this simple, green motel, its small wooden rooms, the silence and quiet streets, its perspectives,...


Even though the story is light, the movie flows so beautifully and its visual so tranquil and poetic that it could almost carry the whole movie.

The film consists of four interconnected stories, all about different aspect of attraction between man and/or woman and how it frequently is ethereal. Their true desire seems to be always something that they cannot hold onto, it will flow out like a handful of sand.

I thought the most intriguing story was the last one where the more unattainable the woman was, the more the man desires her. It parallels her deep love for god, who is infinitely out of reach, but never closer to her heart.

A very good movie. 7/10


For thirteen years after "Identification of a Woman" Michelangelo Antonioni was unable to make another film. However in 1995 he made a sudden return with "Beyond the Clouds" a collection of short stories linked by a film director (john Malkovich). Each film explores, with no real conviction or success the themes of desire,love and deception . At the time the film was hailed as a success, both Antonioni and wenders, who undoubtedly directed parts of the film, were praised. However on closer examination "beyond the Clouds" is far from a masterpiece although visually the images are beautiful all the stories are both implausible and without depth. The film fails in its attempts to explore complex human emotions. John Malkovich's character also fails to link the stories neatly and his ramblings are both pretentious and boring. The only story worthy of real praise is the final one starring Irene Jacob, always superb, who adds a touch of concision to an otherwise lost film. For those looking to explore the human emotions of love, desire, freedom , loss and loneliness would do far better to watch Krystof Kielslowski,s acomplished "Three colours" trilogy which cleary show the late Kielslowski to be far superior to Antonioni.


I haven't seen any other films by Antonioni and the people that saw this one with me agreed that it shares themes and imagery with the rest of his works. Maybe if I had seen other stuff by him I would have enjoyed this one, knowing what to expect.

I saw it as an almost complete failure for so many reasons. First of all, the film introduces interesting, deep issues about social relationships, feelings, the nature of reality versus fiction, but this is very often done in the clumsiest of ways making the characters speak as if they were delivering speeches, rambling on and on, juxtaposing declarations rather than having dialogues. The scriptwriters seem to be so worried that we will not get the point that they prefer to tell instead of showing.

Secondly, the movie has no rhythm, especially in its first half. It is not only that it is slow. Some slow films have been made with an excellent sense of pace and rhythm (El Sur by Victor Erice Or Scorsese's The Age of Innocence are examples I like), but for that to be successful it is necessary that we find the characters so engaging or the story so moving that we can adapt to it. This does not happen in Beyond the Clouds, where the first episode seems to drag endlessly, and the relationship between John Malkovich's "reality" and the love stories "fiction" is at times fluid, others abrupt, others confusing.


I saw this film for the first time last night. I have been thinking about it all night and this morning. I cannot say that it was my favorite film, at least not yet. I need to see it again.

The cinematography is stunning. Each shot has a lyricism that one would expect in a film that has Wim Wenders's name attached to it.

It is always tempting to see de Chirico in any picture of rows of orders vanishing into the gloom, but in this case the analogy fits. In many ways the figure of Malkovich walking through the fog and wind of Ferarra echoes the shadow of the off-canvas statue that haunts Milan in the major works of the Italo-Greek painter. He is slightly menacing, a presence who watches and, in his capacity as a film director, exerts influence on the entire story.

The dedicated Wenders fan cannot help but think a little bit of Damiel and Cassiel wandering through the streets of Berlin, watching all but not directly interacting with the inhabitants. And, following the Himmel Uber Berlin metaphor, the angel (or in this case Malkovich the Director) gets to interact with one of the stories.

At this point I have to bow out of taking this line of criticism too far. I need to see the movie again. I am fairly sure that this is the thread that will bring Malkovich's monologue together.

Perhaps his musings and pontifications are pretentious, empty dialog that sound good but cannot possibly be parsed into real communication. Maybe that is the whole point of it. No one can make that judgment with any degree of certainty or authority until having done his homework.

We must be careful when throwing around the word "pretentious." It is easy to write off anything that smacks of the intellect as pretension, but that leads to a terrifying mental state, one in which the only conversation seen as genuine, earthy or authentic is the most banal. When we shun all discussions of philosophy, God, existence, meaning and all that brain candy, we are setting our culture up to die a slow, stupid and ugly death. Perhaps this is the warning that Wenders and Antonioni are giving us. It certainly is not the only theme of the film, but I think that it cannot be ignored.

The other (and most obvious) leitmotif is that of satisfaction. There is a lot here on that, and a thorough review of all the subtleties and consequences of the development of this leitmotif would well exceed the 1000 word limit for this review.

My advice is to see the film. But I offer a caveat: it is not an autonomous film (at least I don't think so yet). Some films interact with the intellectual and artistic thinking of their times so much that the viewer needs to have a background in the Zeitgeist before approaching the film. Par-dela les nuages is one of those films.


looks like the bet movie I've ever seen. not too much for intelligent perception but so rich for perception sensitive. Antonioni is comparably wise to his movie. Malkovich's so organic, roles are so true, situations are so real. I've change my world outlook after this cinema. I'm a beginner literati in Russia -- country of Tolstoy and Dostoevskiy -- and I'm quite sure watching Antonioni is good and fun for russkies, because I and we do understand his point of view. so I don't understand his lesser raiting on IMDb. I'm sure, speaking from Russia and our people, we like Antonioni because of his romantic soul and positive sensation of surrounding reality


I would have to disagree with the comments that have been added to this page so far. I see Beyond the Clouds as a brilliantly understated, beautifully photographed and profoundly innovative culmination of a great career. I may sound a little hysterical, but rarely have I been so emotionally affected by such ostensible intellectualisation. Malkovich takes on the role of Antonioni perfectly (I think he has the best voice-over voice in the world), showing at once his (the director's) desire to emotionally involve himself with his fiction and to distance himself from it in order to retain the sort of analytical objectivity which sustains the lucidity of the argument (the 'story'). I think much of the beauty lies paradoxically in the implausibility, the director's relationship with the gorgeous Marceau, the ridiculous expectations the characters place on one another. I think the point is the harder we try, the more likely we are to fail. Wordsworth's 'emotion recollected in tranquility' idea is important; self control, self belief, self understanding. I think that's when we can take that step, the attainment of reality, the understanding of the 'image'. I found the scene on the windswept beach with the postcard absolutely devastating, the false world in which the director has trapped himself, the real beauty being the chaos, the unpredictability of the real world. And what an amazing soundtrack too, I can't seem to find it anywhere.


How can this movie possibly have such a high rating? When it comes to the director, I'll admit being ignorant of his past works, and maybe they are fine works. This was not a fine work by any stretch.

The script is terrible. The acting is horrible. You can't blame the actors, though. They don't have anything to work with. Every character acts like a psychotic stalker or a schizophrenic. The dialog is entirely nonsensical.

To quote Mark Twain from "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses", simply replace "Deerslayer" with "Beyond the Clouds":

1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive some where. But the "Deerslayer" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.

2. They require that the episodes in a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the "Deerslayer" tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.

3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale.

4. They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale.

5. The require that when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject at hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say. But this requirement has been ignored from the beginning of the "Deerslayer" tale to the end of it.

All of this applies to "Beyond the Clouds". The characters don't act like human beings, they don't talk like human beings. There seems to be no real story to tell.

As far as I can tell, it seems to me that the director simply wanted to see some beautiful actresses naked and came up with an excuse.

Don't waste your time, that's all I can say.


SPOILER: This the the final feature film that Michelangelo Antonioni directed, with the help of Wim Wenders, and adapts from his short story collection "That Bowling Alley on the Tiber". Beyond the Clouds contain 4 short stories with familiar themes that we've come to be accustomed to from his earlier works, and sums up those themes in vignettes which are weaved together via Wenders' directed scenes involving John Malkovich's The Director character. However, most of the stories seemed to offer little or no depth that we're used to from an Antonioni movie, while Malkovich's narration of supposed depth rattled on with unclear diction that sounded a tad pretentious and out of place.

Nonetheless, all four stories seem to touch on chance encounters, and extremely quick romances that played out more like lust at first sight, perhaps due to the lack of time (since they're short stories anyway) to allow for a more layered approach to carefully define and craft the characters as we know from a typical Antonioni movie. And the obsessive approach here is for the characters to disrobe to showcase a lack of deeper connection sacrificed for the immediate satisfaction of the flesh. Maybe this is the point to want to bring across with an observation of the more modern relationship?

The first story, Story of a Love Affair That Never Existed, tells the romance between Silvano (Kim Rossi Stuart) and Carmen (Ines Sastre), who meet when one asks the other for directions to a hotel, and later meet at a cafe. It's as if Fate is playing games on them when they meet, but part and meet again much later, but like the games people play, it's almost like a L'Avventura or a La Notte with the lack of communication, and of the expectations from the man.

John Malkovich's director character takes central role in the next short, who exhibited some really lecherous looks toward a girl working at a shop, played by Sophie Marceau. She is deeply disturbed and made to feel uncomfortable, but somehow plucked up the courage to approach him, and in what I thought was to scare him off, tells him her background that she murdered her father by stabbing him 12 times. But in a flash these two are off toward bedroom gymnastics.

The next short, Don't Look for Me, is the longest of the lot, with Peter Weller playing a cheating husband who has to choose between his mistress (Chiara Caselli) or his wife, played by Fanny Ardant. Perhaps the more star studded of the lot, with Jean Reno also stepping in for a coda at the end of it, which sort of expands the little universe in which this short exists. But unfortunately Reno's involvement also got relegated to some stifle of laughter as it goes into the implausible domain with laser quick romantic tanglements. There was a key element adapted from L'Eclisse with a kiss between a couple through a glass panel too, while the introductory tale about the story of souls was quite interesting. If there's a negative theme here this short wants to play upon, it'll be the duplicity of man.

In between this short and the next was a small scene which reunited our couple from La Notte, Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, where the former was painting a landscape which was reminiscent of that in Red Desert. Finally, we have the final shot This Body of Dirt, with Vincent Perez as a young man going after a girl (Irene Jacob) whom he just met, and falling in love with her, only to realize that it is a love that is too late. It's a relatively talkie piece, just like the first story, with the characters engaging in conversation while walking the streets of the city they're in, which sort of brings to mind Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise.

While on the whole the movie may have succeeded as individual pieces, they never quite measure up as a combined effort given the "excuse" to link them up was a film director's exploration of possible stories and a look for inspiration for his next film.


Have a good deal of appreciation for Michaelangelo Antonioni, although he is not one of my favourite directors he did many good to great films ('La Notte', 'L'avventura', 'L'Eclisse', 'Le Amiche' and 'The Passenger' being my favourites). It is very easy to understand though why his films and style doesn't connect with all. His films have interesting themes, always look wonderful and his directing style is unique, yet one can understand with some of his films ('Zabriskie Point' for instance) that elements alienate some as much as they fascinate others.

A late film of his (his feature film swan-song), and the first to be made after his debilitating stroke a decade earlier, 'Beyond the Clouds' really isn't Antonioni at his best. Actually found it a major disappointment and one of my least favourites of his. There are good things to be had sure, none of Antonioni's films were irredeemable, but 'Beyond the Clouds' was an example of a film of his that both perplexed and alienated me and failed to connect with me on most levels. This is being said with the heaviest of hearts, no nastiness in any way intended. It is always brave when someone tries to bounce back after something bad/traumatic happens to them, and Antonioni does deserve some admiration in this respect, but it just feels like everything that made his best work so great and what made him such a fine director at his best was gone. Despite the themes, this to me didn't feel like Antonioni, and we are talking about the feel of the film here rather than the interestingly atypical "series of short stories" structure.

'Beyond the Clouds' has its plus points. Its best asset is the production values, with the cinematography visually being stunning and a perfect complement for the beautiful, atmospheric scenery and Sophie Marceau's envious sensuality. The music fits with the atmosphere in a way that's sensual, elegiac and haunting.

Irene Jacob gives a touching, sincere performance in her story, which is the best in the film and for me the only one that works because it did have emotional impact and was engaging. As said, Marceau looks gorgeous.

However, 'Beyond the Clouds' is largely problematic. It feels very disjointed and does feel like a series of short stories (which it is) cobbled together without much cohesion and barely connected together. Of the stories, only the last works, the first two especially were very dull and often insultingly ridiculous, not to mention paper thin and occasionally confusing. Complete with sensual scenes that weren't really but instead felt stiff, silly and needlessly repetitive. Felt little emotional depth and while there were some interesting ideas and themes they were all very flimsily explored and never goes below surface level. The stories are linked together loosely by links with John Malkovich, and they fared even worse. The whole film had dialogue that tended to ramble and waffle, but the dialogue in these scenes took rambling to a whole new level and a lot of it was vague.

These linking scenes were another big reason as to why 'Beyond the Clouds' felt so disjointed, because they felt like they belonged elsewhere and thrown in into this film for padding reasons. The pace was often very sluggish, especially in the first half, and Antonioni's direction felt very indifferent. The characters never feel real or have anything to make one be interested or engaged in them, the way they behave inducing face palms. Excepting Jacob, the acting is sub-par at best with Malkovich's out of kilter hamminess being particularly hard to take.

Overall, fleeting redeeming merits but ultimately disappointing. Shame that Antonioni's feature film swan-song was also one of his biggest failures, really did want to like it but sorry it just wasn't for me. 4/10 Bethany Cox