In the White City

1983 [FRENCH]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Bruno Ganz Photo
Bruno Ganz as Paul
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1006.02 MB
Multiple languages 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S ...
1.82 GB
Multiple languages 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zetes10 / 10

A masterpiece

A stunning and original film. This is the second film by Alain Tanner I've seen. I watched his Jonah Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 last summer, and it sticks with me as few films have. In the White City might not, but who knows. It's already getting bigger in my mind, and I only turned the VCR off about five minutes ago. This film concerns a drifter of sorts (Bruno Ganz, in a role very different from others of his that I've seen) who finds his job as a sailor too tedious and unfulfilling. When his ship docks in Lisbon, he quits without a word and moves into a small hotel. There he meets a cute bartender who works downstairs (Teresa Madruga); she's a strong personality, which attracts him. The mystery surrounding the sailor pulls her in, and they become lovers. Meanwhile, Ganz wanders around Lisbon with a small, handheld camera shooting random things. He also writes brief letters and throws them, along with reels of film that he has shot, into the mail. We then see another woman, this one in Switzerland, who is apparently Ganz's abandoned wife. We find out very little about her (she never has a name). All we know is that she's upset about her man's absence, and he seems to be cruelly hurting her. Is he doing this on purpose? What exactly is the deal with this guy? I was just as curious about this guy as Madruga was. But the more she finds out about him, the less impressed she is. Perhaps he's not some romantic adventurer. Perhaps he's just a loser. I just found this person so fascinating. Many will find the film a bore, I think, but it was amazing to me. Even if you don't care for it, you must admit that the jazzy musical score by Jean-Luc Barbier is exceptional (one of the best, I think) and that Acácio de Almeida's cinematography is breathtaking. To me, it's all around a masterpiece. 10/10.

Reviewed by mjneu598 / 10

elusive, enigmatic

A Swiss sailor suffers a quiet spiritual crisis while AWOL in Lisbon, recording his thoughts and impressions with an old 8mm movie camera and sending the images home to his wife. Pursuing an elusive, aimless life away from all responsibility, he wanders the boulevards, spends idle hours in pool halls, and eventually begins a love affair with an equally lonely and independent young barmaid. Nothing is ever explicit in this restrained and taciturn drama; the sailor's mounting despair is communicated almost entirely through a steady stream of sensuous imagery. In its own quiet, confident manner the film is one of the more poetic evocations of isolation and solitude, and a poignant reminder of the heartbreak always lurking behind any dream of total freedom.

Reviewed by hasosch8 / 10

The impossibility to just vanish

To drop out of society: this is one of the central topics in the films of Alain Tanner. Unfortunately, we cannot just vanish: we leave traces. We also leave commitments, partners, children, our post, the apartment. And if we get really able to reach the state of completely breaking off all outer belongings without touching our inner states, we are still far away from being free: We are neither free to do something, because in well-organized societies, my freedom-to stops exactly there where the freedom-to of my neighbor starts, and since we are crowded on this planet, there is not much to accomplish. And neither is our freedom-from so easily to achieve, because we live in a global society where only the suicide is for free.

In Tanners's "Messidor" we have Marie and Jeanne, whose freedom-to ends quickly, namely in the moment where there are out of money. In "Charles vif ou mort", Charles' freedom-from ends there, where he sees that it is not to accomplish without destroying the whole society, which is rather impossible. And in the never-land between freedom-to and freedom-from, there is Paul in "Dans la Ville Blanche", the Swiss sailor, who decides one day not go back to his ship but to stay in Lisbon until his money is gone. In a letter to his partner in Zurich, he writes: "I am not in vacation, since a vacation must be planned, and planning is work. I am doing NOTHING". All central characters of Tanner's movie want the same: to experiment how it is possible to experience the ABSENCE of something: the empty space as absence from the crowd, the empty time as the absence of obligations in society. And all of them fail sooner or later: either they cannot go on anymore, because the emptiness has turned into nonsense, or people do not let them go, because they want them put behind bars - of prisons or clinics.

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