Dans la ville blanche (Alain Tanner, Switzerland, 1983)

One of the more reliable art-house directors of the ‘seventies and ‘eighties was Swiss Alain Tanner. Like any self-respecting auteur the mood of his films hardly varies no matter how much the subject matter does. Though in his case the subject matter hardly varies either: eavesdropping on lonely people leading aimless lives on the margins. Pretentious and empty, but with a certain indefinable and compelling kind of magic. Typically his women were like his protagonists, dark, moody, down to earth, in humble occupations but intelligent.

In the White City is about a sailor (Bruno Ganz) jumping ship in Lisbon, sending home a video diary (actually grainy Super 8) of his impressions of the city. Mainly the trams as I remember it, from a Channel 4 showing I think. And of course there was Teresa Madruga naked in bed. She’s just a waitress he’s taken up with. You’ll also see him chasing her into the bedroom with no knickers on and getting down to work on her. Definitely worth a second look, even if it’s just to see if you missed anything. I always worry I’ve missed something with scenes like these.

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Clip #1: Dans-la-ville-blanche-a.avi (4MB)
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Clip #2: Dans-la-ville-blanche-b.avi (32MB)

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