In the White City

Synopsis: A Swiss sailor jumps ship in Lisbon, tired of the noisy engine room, the ship "a floating factory of crazy people." He rents a room and does little. He writes letters to his lover, describing the whiteness of the city, the solitude and the silence. He sends his love and emptiness; she replies with love and confusion. He sends movies from his 8mm camera. Then he becomes friendly with Rosa, a chambermaid, and soon it's a love affair. He continues to send letters and movies home. His Swiss lover is hurt and angry; she sends an ultimatum.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Alain Tanner
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
108 min

- There's a problem downstairs.

- Wait.

- Will you shoot me?

- OK.

Look through here

and press the red button.

No, wait.

- Now?

- Yes, now.

Come on.



One beer.


- You speak English?

- No.

- French, a bit.

- That's fine.

That clock over there goes backwards.

No, it goes alright.

- The world is going backwards.

- Yeah?


If all clocks went backwards...

the world would work properly.


- You work in a ship?

- No.

In a floating factory

with some madmen.

- You're mad too?

- I don't know.

- Is this a hotel?

- Yes.

- Any rooms available?

- Yes.

I'll take one for tonight.

- A guest, speaks French.

- Good afternoon.

Take over.

- You're not needed at the bar.

- Fine.

You have to be pretty for the bar.

Looking like that,

you can only be a cleaner.

What's the difference?

Cleaning is not

like attending the bar.

- Don't you see?

- No, I don't see.

Dress up, put on some make up.

Cleaning here is not

like attending the bar.

Make it visible in the salary.

- What?

- It's two different salaries.

What are you saying?


I'm the same here, at the bar

and in the rooms.

If you don't like it, bad luck,

I don't care.

I always do my job,

at the bar or cleaning rooms.

Don't push me with that make up thing.

I'll wear make up if I want to.

You make the rules about my work,

and it's always well done.

What do you want?

- What?

- What do you want?

- This man is mine.

- No, it's mine.



Why not?


- Why not?

- Get out of here.

He was with me.

Go ahead.

- Can I make the bed?

- No.


I'll clean up the basin.

What are you doing?

I don't like having pictures made of me!

- Your ship ain't sailing?

- It can't without me.

- You also clean the rooms?

- Yes.

That's why I get mad at the boss.

I can't close it.

Bloody package.

"It seems I'm not able to write.

I have got some images,

but I can't write.

I've had a dream.

I dreamt I left the ship,

went into town...

and rented a room...

without knowing why.

And I stayed there,

waiting, unable to move.

I dreamt the city was white,

the room was also white...

and loneliness and calm

were white too.

I' m tired.

I wish I could learn again

to talk about things."

"The room was white,

and loneliness and calm

were white too.

I'm tired.

I wish I could learn again

to talk about things.

I think of you.

I love you very much."

I feel fine.

I'm free.

I don't do anything,

but I'm not on vacation.

When on vacation you do things,

you arrange your free time.

I don't.

I don't do anything.

My adress:

Mayling list, Lisbon.

The Shipping Company asked

regarding your whereabouts.

What shall I tell them?


Nothing at all.

Shall I tell them you created

an inner world of your own...

and you'll tell me about it

at some point?

I'd love it if you told me.

I don't know how to grasp

that "I don't do anything".

I don't think I'll get to understand it.

Maybe that's the reason why I work.

I love you and everything

turns around inside my head.

If you wanna play, deal cards better.

A beer!

- Hi.

- I've walked a lot.

When I walk a lot,

I think about things.

Very interesting things.

I've thought about you.

What's your name?

Paul, and you are Rosa.

- How do you know?

- I just know.

Were you expecting me?

In a way.

The bar is closing.

I buy you a drink upstairs,

in my room.

Not here.

- At your place?

- It's very small.

So much the better.

I must go to work.

Hurry or I'll be late.

- I'm on vacation.

- I'm not.

My ship is in the Atlantic,

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Alain Tanner

Alain Tanner (born 6 December 1929) is a Swiss film director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"In the White City" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Jul 2020. <>.

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