Night Train to Lisbon


Thanks to AMK Lakelett, one of the authors I follow I was reminded of this movie.  Have you seen it?  It is based on the book of the same name by Pascal Mercier, a Swiss writer, and philosopher.  Pascal Mercier is the pseudonym of Peter Bieri, who studied philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg.

Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons) is a stuffy academic teaching Latin at a college in Bern.  One day, on the way to work, he stops a young woman from jumping off a bridge.  He takes her with him to the college but she runs off leaving her coat and a book with a ticket for the train to Lisbon.

Leaving everything behind, yes everything, he rushes to the station and when he can’t find the young woman, he takes the night train to Lisbon.  He becomes entranced by the book she was carrying.  Amadeu de Prado, the (fictional) author is a Portuguese essayist and doctor. Through the writings, in the book the author explores the ideas of friendship, love, loneliness, and death.  Gregorius becomes determined to track down the author or at least find out about him and his life.

His investigations take him to the doctor’s home where he meets the sister (Charlotte Rampling), who acts as if the author is still alive.  His further investigations then lead him all over Lisbon as he meets with his teacher and friends, and those who were involved in the author’s life both as revolutionaries and in his professional life.

Through Mariana (Martina Gedeck), a friendly optician who assures Raimund that he is not boring, he meets her aged Uncle Joao (Tom Courtenay), another member of the resistance who rebelled against Salazar’s dictatorship. Prado is quoted” ‘When dictatorship is a factrevolution is a duty”.’

This is a fascinating film, showing what can happen when one man walks away from all that he has known, to pursue a whim. The film was not greeted with much acclaim by reviewers, but I enjoyed it and am now off to get a copy of the book from the library.



4 responses to “Night Train to Lisbon

  1. This is the kind of movie I would enjoy. I don’t usually like the ones everyone else raves about.


  2. The book is always better so I will try to find a copy as I have not read it. I once tracked down an author to find out if he was still living. Sadly, he had already died.


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