Last night I caught Night Train to Lisbon. Unfortunately it was not a real comboio (or trem as Brazilians would call it) but the film of that title. But nevertheless, armchair travel while you are sitting in a cinema with a big screen, and a glass of wine in your hand, is a pleasant experience.
The film has had mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it. A dull professor from Switzerland (played by Jeremy Irons) makes a spontaneous visit to Lisbon and begins to see the world in a new light. There is a love interest and some tense drama involving members of the Portuguese resistance just before the revolution of 1974 (“What if your first assignment was to kill your father?”). Here is the trailer.
It was great to see parts of Lisbon again on the big screen, and the film reminded me why it is one of my favourite cities.
The film is based on the book of the same name (translated from German) by Swiss writer Pascal Mercier, and judging by the reviews on the Amazon website, it seems to be one of those books that you’ll either love or hate. While many reviewers awarded it five stars out of five, some gave it just one star, saying it was long, implausible, pretentious and almost impossible to finish.
One review claimed that reading the book meant being subjected to “an involuntary language course in Portuguese“. Heaven forbid! There wasn’t much Portuguese spoken in the movie, so for a deeper immersion in Lisbon, you might like to buy the book. And you can also go to Lisbon via my travel website Time To Wander.