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5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Guide to Beauty vs. Meaning
There are those who appear to have difficulty understanding or appreciating this film.
BEYOND THE CLOUDS obscures meaning with its beauty for many viewers. However, perhaps the director wishes us to exercise our imaginations and understandings beyond the perception of surface beauty.
It is difficult in spots. The scene where the young male lover can barely get...
Published on Feb. 14 2003

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beyond my comprehension
Visually this film is very attractive, with beautiful shots of a lakeside village and very atmospheric shots of alleyways and streets in rain and mist. But when it comes to the actions and motivations of the people in the film I lost patience. I like to believe in and identify with the characters, and in this film I found that impossible. There are four stories and I...
Published on Jan. 7 2003 by kenneth groom


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beyond my comprehension, Jan. 7 2003
By 
kenneth groom (Manchester, England.) - See all my reviews
Visually this film is very attractive, with beautiful shots of a lakeside village and very atmospheric shots of alleyways and streets in rain and mist. But when it comes to the actions and motivations of the people in the film I lost patience. I like to believe in and identify with the characters, and in this film I found that impossible. There are four stories and I will mention only two - the two that seems to me the most bizarre and pointless.
The first story stars two extremely good-looking newcomers to the screen (Rossi Stuart & Ines Sastre). He stops his car to ask her the way to the nearest hotel; and, presumably 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 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. I ask you; 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 he behaved in this way either because of folly or pride. Well it was certainly folly and certainly unbelievable.
In the other story, 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 responds in the same way. He goes into the shop and their mutual and 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 led up the garden path.
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's character 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 and meaningful relationship. 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 another let down. The point? I wish I new.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Guide to Beauty vs. Meaning, Feb. 14 2003
By A Customer
There are those who appear to have difficulty understanding or appreciating this film.
BEYOND THE CLOUDS obscures meaning with its beauty for many viewers. However, perhaps the director wishes us to exercise our imaginations and understandings beyond the perception of surface beauty.
It is difficult in spots. The scene where the young male lover can barely get himself to touch his girlfriend, then leaving in disgust, is disturbing. It is reminiscent of the painful moments in Antonioni's 1964 color film, 'Red Desert.'
Yet all of Antonioni's films, as other viewers have here and elsewhere indicated, are throbbing with meaning underneath their often quiet surfaces.
Some of the cafe style speech of some of the characters in these four strung-together tales is considered a little too 'New Age,' and superficial in tone. True, that which sounds like pseudo-philosophy can be irritating...
However, such stretches do appear in Antonioni's other films. The director ventures to depict such ramblings in order to reveal their social and psychological style, 'music,' and their possible real meaning. Perhaps they take a little thought for the viewer. An Antonioni film is a real experience. Watching BEYOND THE CLOUDS more than once may be necessary, in order to come around to the director's point-of-view.
Perhaps approaching this film as a lengthy contemplation or meditation, rather than just a clever stretch of footage, is the best approach. It is difficult to appreciate right away, like most of Antonioni's films, because it is deeper than it seems on first viewing.
Some have been annoyed with the apparent lack of unity of these four tales. Yet look again. Perhaps an underlying unity in this film eluded you on first viewing. Perhaps perceiving needs a chance to gestate, and grow.
Others have been annoyed with the choices of 'pop' music the director chose to line his film with. Yet we have come to lose sight of the issue of 'layers of meaning' in a film or other works of art. We no longer wonder why a director chooses his music: we simply condemn him for his choices outright, and at first hearing, without thinking.
Still others condemn the film for what they perceive as gratuitous soft-core nude scenes. Perhaps they are. Yet, perhaps they mean to say something else within the context of BEYOND THE CLOUDS.
I think this thoughtful, demanding, and beautiful film is one of the best bargains on the 'art' film market today (or any other day.) It is definitely worth owning and watching more than once...
I hope this helps.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEYOND THE CLODS . . ., Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beyond the Clouds (VHS Tape)
...some of us, I bet, are getting a little tired of the childish Antonioni bashing that seems to go on. Antonioni bashing not just here, but all over the place...
... I resonate completely with the Amazon.com reviewer who asserted about one other Antonioni film, that it's no surprise that in the age of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there is little appreciation for the subtleties, delicacies, and
savoir faire of the patient, conscientious, understanding, intuitive, unpretentious, careful, and wise efforts of Michelangelo Antonioni. . .
... the truth is Antonioni's subtle work is TOO good. By some sort of all-too-common common flip-flop neanderthal logic, jewels like BEYOND THE CLOUDS run afoul of lesser minds who are predisposed to insist it isn't good ENOUGH ...
. . .I think people are afraid of being thought of as thoughtful, and therefore "dangerous," in this day and age. Hence they bash quiet films like BEYOND THE CLOUDS.
...well, I've seen BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times before I bought my own copy the other day. It is fit to stand beside Antonioni's RED DESERT as one of the most beautiful color films ever made. Without a Monica Vitti to "guide" us through the film, perhaps the four subtle tales of love, loss, trauma, and reflection that make up BEYOND THE CLOUDS take a few viewings to truly appreciate. But that's what many serious critics say of ALL Antonioni's films...
...sip like a fine wine. Smile at the adult children who look down on BEYOND THE CLOUDS. Rest in the hope they all come across the experiences they need to come around to an appreciation of Antonioni, via intelligence and newfound understanding...
... I've watched my recently acquired VHS copy of BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times already in the past few days. It is divinely worth it, and my love for it grows with each viewing...
...get your own copy, and do the same...
... the flower, unmolested, blooms and shows all its colors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEYOND THE CLODS . . ., Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beyond the Clouds (VHS Tape)
...some of us, I bet, are getting a little tired of the childish Antonioni bashing that seems to go on. Antonioni bashing not just here, but all over the place...
... I resonate completely with the Amazon.com reviewer who asserted about one other Antonioni film, that it's no surprise that in the age of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there is little appreciation for the subtleties, delicacies, and
savoir faire of the patient, conscientious, understanding, intuitive, unpretentious, careful, and wise efforts of Michelangelo Antonioni. . .
... the truth is Antonioni's subtle work is TOO good. By some sort of all-too-common common flip-flop neanderthal logic, jewels like BEYOND THE CLOUDS run afoul of lesser minds who are be predisposed to insist it isn't good ENOUGH ...
. . .I think people are afraid of being thought of as thoughtful, and therefore "dangerous," in this day and age. Hence they bash quiet films like BEYOND THE CLOUDS.
...well, I've seen BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times before I bought my copy the other day. It is fit to stand beside Antonioni's RED DESERT as one of the most beautiful color films ever made. Without a Monica Vitti to "guide" us through the film, perhaps the four subtle tales of love, loss, trauma, and reflection that make up BEYOND THE CLOUDS take a few viewings to truly appreciate. But that's what many serious critics say of ALL Antonioni's films...
...sip like a fine wine. Smile at the adult children who look down on BEYOND THE CLOUDS. Rest in the hope they all come across the experiences they need to come around to an appreciation of Antonioni, via intelligence and a newfound understanding...
... I've watched my recently acquired VHS copy of BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times already in the past few days. It is divinely worth it, and my love for it grows with each viewing...
...get your own copy, and do the same...
... the flower, unmolested, blooms and shows all its colors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEYOND THE CLODS . . ., Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beyond the Clouds (VHS Tape)
...some of us, I bet, are getting a little tired of the childish Antonioni bashing that seems to go on. Antonioni bashing not just here, but all over the place...
... I resonate completely with the Amazon.com reviewer who asserted about one other Antonioni film, that it's no surprise that in the age of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there is little appreciation for the subtleties, delicacies, and
savoir faire of the patient, conscientious, understanding, intuitive, unpretentious, careful, and wise efforts of Michelangelo Antonioni. . .
... the truth is Antonioni's subtle work is TOO good. By some sort of all-too-common common flip-flop neanderthal logic, jewels like BEYOND THE CLOUDS run afoul of lesser minds who are be predisposed to insist it isn't good ENOUGH ...
. . .I think people are afraid of being thought of as thoughtful, and therefore "dangerous," in this day and age. Hence they bash quiet films like BEYOND THE CLOUDS.
...well, I've seen BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times before I bought my copy the other day. It is fit to stand beside Antonioni's RED DESERT as one of the most beautiful color films ever made. Without a Monica Vitti to "guide" us through the film, perhaps the four subtle tales of love, loss, trauma, and reflection that make up BEYOND THE CLOUDS take a few viewings to truly appreciate. But that's what many serious critics say of ALL Antonioni's films...
...sip like a fine wine. Smile at the adult children who look down on BEYOND THE CLOUDS. Rest in the hope they all come across the experiences they need to come around to an appreciation of Antonioni, via intelligence and a newfound understanding...
... I've watched my recently acquired VHS copy of BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times already in the past few days. It is divinely worth it, and my love for it grows with each viewing...
...get your own copy, and do the same...
... the flower, unmolested, blooms and shows all its colors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEYOND THE CLODS . . ., Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beyond the Clouds (VHS Tape)
...some of us, I bet, are getting a little tired of the childish Antonioni bashing that seems to go on. Antonioni bashing not just here, but all over the place...
... I resonate completely with the Amazon.com reviewer who asserted about one other Antonioni film, that it's no surprise that in the age of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there is little appreciation for the subtleties, delicacies, and
savoir faire of the patient, conscientious, understanding, intuitive, unpretentious, careful, and wise efforts of Michelangelo Antonioni. . .
... the truth is Antonioni's subtle work is TOO good. By some sort of all-too-common common flip-flop neanderthal logic, jewels like BEYOND THE CLOUDS run afoul of lesser minds who are be predisposed to insist it isn't good ENOUGH ...
. . .I think people are afraid of being thought of as thoughtful, and therefore "dangerous," in this day and age. Hence they bash quiet films like BEYOND THE CLOUDS.
...well, I've seen BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times before I bought my copy the other day. It is fit to stand beside Antonioni's RED DESERT as one of the most beautiful color films ever made. Without a Monica Vitti to "guide" us through the film, perhaps the four subtle tales of love, loss, trauma, and reflection that make up BEYOND THE CLOUDS take a few viewings to truly appreciate. But that's what many serious critics say of ALL Antonioni's films...
...sip like a fine wine. Smile at the adult children who look down on BEYOND THE CLOUDS. Rest in the hope they all come across the experiences they need to come around to an appreciation of Antonioni, via intelligence and a newfound understanding...
... I've watched my recently acquired VHS copy of BEYOND THE CLOUDS six times already in the past few days. It is divinely worth it, and my love for it grows with each viewing...
...get your own copy, and do the same...
... the flower, unmolested, blooms and shows all its colors.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time....., Aug. 4 2002
By 
Valentina (New York United States) - See all my reviews
Unless you want to see a film with beautiful locales which this film gets an "A" for, this is too long a film to sit through.
There are 4 stories, one of which you are to believe John Malkovich as a sex symbol. His contribution to the picture is to have the most beautiful woman in the film dying for his body, before he even makes an offer, and then after he beds her, he waves b-bye to her as he's passing outside her window. Oh, puh-leez.
I wanted to see this film because Vincent Perez, who played a shipwrecked Russian in "Swept from the Sea", (an absolutely brilliant 5 star movie I highly recommend. Ian McKlennon and Rachel Weisz are great in it too.), is in this movie. Unfortunately, his part is not romantic. The gorgeous man in the first story is also a tease. Neither of these beautiful men ever completes a lovescene. (With such ridiculous writing, they could at least give us that!)
Therefore, those of you ladies (and gentlemen who appreciate gorgeous men) will feel a bit cheated. The females in the movie are just there to be naked and beautiful - which they do well, don't get me wrong! But they seem to be too willing to go with the flow.
I'm a fan of foreign film but this one will make you say "you must be kidding" too many times with its canned monologue.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cloudscapes from a Great Director, April 8 2002
By 
Donald Gavron (Woodbridge, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The great Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni spins four dreamy tales into an uneven confection concerning passion and connectivity. Though not as bitter as La Notte or L'Avventura (two of his masterpieces), in this film Antonioni seems more pensive and nostalgic for the tragedy of passing time and lost love. A great cast fills the landscape of lovers trying to connect and passions boiling beneath the surface, some fulfilled, others disappointingly engaged. John Malcovich wanders through the film as a narrator connecting the threads of the four stories (the direction assisted by Wim Wenders due to Antonioni's age and the after effects of a stroke), and the international cast of Peter Weller, Irene Jacob, Vincent Perez, Sophie Marceau and Jean Reno are perfectly tuned in to the director's icy, haunting style. A brief cameo by Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau (stars of La Notte) is touching and sad. This film is a must for Antonioni's fans, his scene composition and camerawork are still among the best of any living director.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cloudscapes form a Great Director, April 8 2002
By 
Donald Gavron (Woodbridge, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The great Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni spins four dreamy tales into an uneven confection concerning passion and connectivity. Though not as bitter as La Notte or L'Avventura (two of his masterpieces), in this film Antonioni seems more pensive and nostalgic for the tragedy of passing time and lost love. A great cast fills the landscape of lovers trying to connect and passions boiling beneath the surface, some fulfilled, others disappointingly engaged. John Malcovich wanders through the film as a narrator connecting the threads of the four stories (the direction assisted by Wim Wenders due to Antonioni's age and the after effects of a stroke), and the international cast of Peter Weller, Irene Jacob, Vincent Perez, Sophie Marceau and Jean Reno are perfectly tuned in to the director's icy, haunting style. A brief cameo by Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau (stars of La Notte) is touching and sad. This film is a must for Antonioni's fans, his scene composition and camerawork are still among the best of any living director.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully photographed wisp of romantic pretentions, Feb. 13 2001
By 
D. Anderson (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As an avid fan of foreign cinema, I had hoped for far more from this film. While I enjoy savoring slow, brooding, elliptical films (Kieslowski's films largely populate my favorites list), "Nuages" simply didn't deliver. The European locales (and various actresses) in the film are frequently gorgeous and beautifully filmed, but precious little is done with this promising milieu.
Not only do the stories lack depth and interest, the characters/actors are unengaging and even obtrusive. Everyone floats about with this detached, deer-in-the-headlights gaze, mouthing deliberately obscure, overwrought lines that might have come from the pen of some turtleneck-clad, undergraduate philosophy major. There were several moments of unintended humor, when the wearing-my-angst-on-my-sleeve bit crossed the ridiculousness threshold, and left my wife and I laughing aloud. Where Kieslowski's films indirectly but insistently pull you into the urgencies of his protagonists lives, this film opts for the unsubtle; some of these characters might as well be carrying placards noting "I'm Complex!" "I'm emotionally haunted!" and the like. The one near-exception to this observation was the final vignette, featuring the understated but luminous Irene Jacob.
I found myself wishing that the characters would leave me alone to explore the beguiling backdrops against which these pallid vignettes unfold. I don't think that was the director's intent.
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