Summoned to Lisbon by director Bauchau, who's having problems with the silent movie he's shooting there, soundman Vogler arrives late, to discover that his friend has gone missing. He determines, nevertheless, to record a soundtrack for the unfinished film and, in so doing, comes to love Lisbon (and fado/pop singer Salgueiro), falling in with various kids and crooks in the meantime. All this is both pretty (Lisbon, after all, is very photogenic) and pretty lame; Wenders has never been comfortable with the kind of gentle comedy he essays here. But it's when Vogler finally catches up with Bauchau that the movie really goes off the rails, tottering into a tedious, redundant hypothesis about the lost innocence of the cinematic edge. Wenders has escorted us around this territory before, and far more entertainingly than here.
Cast and crew
Manoel de Oliveira