Picks and Pans Review: Voyage to the Beginning of the World
Combining a light Continental polish with a simple, self-effacing dignity, Mastroianni could move with the elegance of a true star while seeming as real, as ordinary as the next man. His performance in this, his last movie before his death in 1996, doesn't rank with the big ones (La Dolce Vita, 8½), but it's a touching souvenir. He plays a director returning to his native Portugal to make a movie. Traveling with a small entourage, including an actor (Jean-Yves Gautier), he stops and reminisces at spots he recognizes from childhood.
Gautier also has roots to explore. He seeks out an ancient aunt in the remote village that was once the home of his late father, who, while still a teenager, left for France and never returned. This old woman, weathered by decades of a joyless, hard existence, at first doesn't understand how this urbane foreigner can possibly be a relation. But slowly she accepts him, and they talk with spare but moving eloquence of the terrible distances of geography, time and death. (No rating)
Bottom Line: Touching finale for a veteran star