The Sheltering Sky (1990) © Recorded Picture Company
The Sheltering Sky (1990) © Recorded Picture Company

ACMI presents

The Sheltering Sky

Bernardo Bertolucci | UK, Italy | 1990 | M

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ACMI Member



Sat 13 Apr 2024

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Ryuichi Sakamoto reunites with director Bernardo Bertolucci for his erotically charged adaptation of Paul Bowles' cult 1949 novel.

"We’re not tourists, we’re travellers", are the first lines spoken by incumbent explorer Port (John Malkovich), who along with his wife Kit (Debra Winger) and their travel companion George (Campbell Scott) have just set foot in 1940s French Algeria. Travelling from New York, the adventurous trio embark on a journey that will take them from the bustling street markets of Oran and deep into the Sahara desert. Along the way, Port and Kit will try to rekindle their waning marriage and the love-struck George will instigate an affair with Kit. All three will succumb to the pleasures of this far-off land and lose themselves in the process.

Based on Paul Bowles' acclaimed novel of the same name (he makes a brief appearance in the film), director Bernardo Bertolucci has created a sensual and evocative psychological drama, full of golden sunsets and endless desert landscapes beautifully lensed by frequent collaborator Vittorio Storaro.

Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto follows up his Oscar-winning score for Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), with a soundtrack that seamlessly blends post-war American big band music, propulsive synth percussion and traditional Arabic and Middle Eastern compositions.

Format: DCP
Language: English, French and Arabic with English subtitles
Source: The Festival Agency
Courtesy: The Festival Agency
Runtime: 138 mins

Event duration

138 mins



Contains occasional sexual scenes


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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