Produced by Maria Joao Mayer. Executive producers, Antonio Da Cunha Telles, Jean Nachbaur, Antonio Cardenal. Directed by Fernando Lopes. Screenplay, Christopher Frank, Nachbaur, based on Antonio Tabucchi’s novel, “Il filo dell’orizzonte.” Camera (color), Javier Aguirresarobe; editor, Jacques Witta; music, Zbigniew Preisner; production design, Jasmim De Matos; sound (Dolby), Vasco Pedroso. Reviewed at Le Latina cinema, Paris, Nov. 27, 1993. Running time: 90 MIN.
Spino … Claude Brasseur
Francesca … Andrea Ferreol
Prostitute … Ana Padrao
Alvaro … Antonio Valero
A morose morgue attendant confronts a cadaver with his own face (30 years younger) in “The Line of the Horizon,” a willfully enigmatic French-lingo pic set in Portugal that’s heavy on atmosphere and low on narrative coherence. Item belongs on graveyard-shift TV and at shaggy-dog-story film fests.
Spino (Claude Brasseur) worries his long-suffering g.f. (Andrea Ferreol) and her police inspector brother (Antonio Valero) as he tries to trace the identity of the 25-year-old murder victim. Corpse is a dead ringer for Brasseur at that age, down to his custom-sewn tweed jacket and distinctive key ring.
Classic film noir signposts and the enticing premise lead nowhere slowly, until Brasseur is lured to a dull date with destiny.
Alain Corneau’s 1989 “Nocturne Indien,” about a man searching for a missing friend in India, fared far better at adapting novelist Antonio Tabucchi’s specialty of following a loner obsessed with a mystical quest.
Evocative latenight lensing in Lisbon is well served by Zbigniew Preisner’s spare and eerie score. Brasseur and Ferreol have a few OK scenes together, but overall this would-be philosophical/metaphysical pic remains D.O.A.