Shot on location in numerous countries, this ambitious Wim Wenders fantasy takes Sam Neill, Solveig Dommartin, William Hurt, and a ragtag group in pursuit around the world and back again. Though set in 1999 under the shadow of impending disaster as a wobbly nuclear satellite threatens to Chernobyl the planet, the leisurely gait of their worldwide escapades has a distinctly '40s-era decadence. The ultimate object of their quest is a machine that records visual information from one person and reconstructs it in the brains of others--granting the miraculous power of sight to the blind for one thing, but even more mystically, enabling a person's dreams to be recorded. When the film seeks resolutions on the most intimate questions of the human soul which dovetail with the possibility of a destroyed world, the film is hampered by the VHS running time, which subtracts several hours from the laser disc version. But numerous joys, not least among them Jeanne Moreau and Max von Sydow as Hurt's parents, inhabit this thought-provoking film. --Alan E. Rapp
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