« It is a ballad, both serious and light-hearted, that takes place in a world which may be foreign to me, but which I fell in love with as one sometimes falls in love with a « world apart » which brings one out of oneself. » Paul, the narrator, has an appointment one hot Sunday in summer with a guest who is none other than the ghost of the great Portuguese writer, Fernando Pessoa. He comes to Lisbon at noon, but then realizes that ghosts usually make their appointments at midnight. Between noon and midnight, through a series of chance happenings and while retracing his past, Paul meets a whole series of characters, a curious mixture of people from present-day Lisbon and ghosts from the past, the living and the dead crossing paths at the same moment in time, a decompartmentalized time. Until his final meeting with Pessoa, Paul crosses paths with restaurants owners, the madam of a brothel, a tramp, a cemetery caretaker, a taxi driver, an old gypsy woman, etc… all of whom are firmly anchored in a segment of Lisbon culture that is slowly fading away. Among all these people, and with no apparent difference from them, parade another group of people, dead souls who return after many years, such as Paul’s friend Pierre, his long dead-father, and Isabel, who had been both Paul’s and Pierre’s mistress. Running through the story like a thread is the spirit of Pessoa and a powerful feeling of melancholy and remorse.
Alain Tanner (born 6 December 1929 in Geneva) is a Swiss film director. Alain Tanner studied economics at the university of Geneva. In 1951, he joined the film club that Claude Goretta had just established at the university. After his college degree and a short time working for international shipping companies, he felt drawn to film. He found work at the British Film Institute in 1955, subtitling, translating, and organizing the archive. His first film, Nice Time, a short documentary about Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday night, was made in 1957 with Claude Goretta. Produced by the British Film Institute Experimental Film Fund, it was first shown as part of the third Free Cinema programme at the National Film Theatre in May 1957. The debut film won a prize at the film festival in Venice and much critical praise. Tanner went to France for a while where he assisted with several commercial films. There, he met some of the most important directors of the French New Wave in Paris as well as Henri Langlois, the director of the Cinémathèque Française. Some critics have found the influences of Jean-Luc Godard and Robert Bresson in his films. But the atmosphere in the film circles of Paris displeased him; he described it as « cutthroat. » Between 1960 and 1968, Tanner returned to Switzerland, and he made more than 40 films as well as documentaries in this time for French-language television there. in 1962, he became the co-founder of the Swiss young filmmakers’ « Groupe Cinque. » His first feature film, Charles, Dead or Alive (1969), won the first prize at the international film festival in Locarno. His next two films, La Salamandre (1971) and Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976), were made in close collaboration with the art critic and novelist John Berger, who had also worked with him, to a lesser degree and without a credit, on the writing of Charles. Influenced by his involvement with the British « Free Cinema » movement in London in the early 1960s and with the French New Wave during his years in Paris, Tanner is best known for his movies Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000 (Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000), Dans la ville blanche (In the White City) and Messidor. 
Alain Tanner, Bernard Comment et Antonio Tabucchi, daprès son roman.
Production : CAB Productions, Rue du Port-Franc 17, CH 1003 Lausanne, Suisse, Tél : (41 21) 321 15 00 Fax : (41 21) 321 15 09 - Gemini Films, 73 rue Saint Denis, 75001 Paris, France. Tél. : (33 1) 40 39 03 75 Fax : (33 1) 42 33 12 13 - Filmograph SA (Suisse) - Madragoa Filmes (Portugal) Ventes à létranger : Gemini Films, 73 rue Saint Denis, 75001 Paris, France. Tél. : (33 1) 40 39 03 75, Fax : (33 1) 42 33 12 13 Distribué en France par : Gemini Films