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The City of Your Final Destination

Synopsis

The City Of Your Final Destination is the story of Omar, an attractive young graduate student who becomes involved in a romantic triangle as he sets out to write a book about the life of his literary hero. As Omar gets more involved in the real lives that inspired the work of his favorite writer, he finds his own life changed, and for the first time experiences a world of intrigue, heartbreak, and eroticism that he had only read about in books .

The story begins on the snowy plains of Kansas, where Omar (Omar Metwally) lives with his girlfriend Deirdre (Alexandra Lara), a young professor at the university there. When Omar is given a grant to write an authorized biography of the legendary and recently-deceased novelist Jules Gund, he seeks the permission of the Gund family to write his book. The family, who live a reclusive life in Uruguay, refuse to give their permission, a refusal that will keep Omar from completing the doctorate and effectively end his academic career. So Omar, at Deirdre's urging, sets out for Uruguay, where he will appeal to the family in person. He must win their trust to win his degree.

Upon arrival in Uruguay, Omar discovers the bizarre and compelling cast of characters who have been left behind in the wake of the famous novelist's tempestuous life. On Jules's estate, Ocho Rios - a lush, sprawling setting that features a French chateau, a Venetian-style boathouse and gondola, vast plains where horses run, and the unmistakable ghosts of the family's past - live his heirs: Jules's wife Caroline (Laura Linney), a brittle, suspicious painter; Jules's mistress, Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the beautiful young mother of Jule's nine year-old daughter, Portia; and Adam (Anthony Hopkins), Jules's worldly, sophisticated brother, who lives on the grounds of the estate with his much younger partner Pete, (Hiroyuki Sanada). Omar finds that these disparate souls have carved out lives for themselves together here, largely apart from the outside world. In this remote and exotic part of South America, he sets about the task of winning them over.

To convince the family to trust him, Omar begins to negotiate the dangerous emotional terrain of Jules's innately-suspicious widow Caroline, who stayed married to Jules even when Jules's mistress Arden came to live with the two of them. Caroline does not want her complex, even shameful, private life exposed in a book, and will do all she can to prevent it from happening. At the same time, Omar strikes up a careful friendship with Adam, Jule's brother, who understands the Gund family perhaps better than anyone, and might agree to cooperate -- though Omar finds that Adam's cooperation will come at a price.

But Omar's most complex relationship is with Arden, the young mother who has seemingly washed up on the shores of Ocho Rios through her teenage entanglement with the famous deceased novelist. As he spends more time with Arden, Omar finds himself questioning his relationship with his girlfriend back in Kansas. Arden seems to represent everything that Omar's life in snow-covered Kanas is not: intimacy, spontaneity, and a life lived passionately, apart from libraries and doctoral dissertations.

Just as he is coming to understand the personal politics that govern life at the estate, and as his relationship with Arden is developing into a romance, Omar has a life-threatening accident on the grounds of Ocho Rios. He is hospitalized, and Omar's girlfriend Deirdre shows up in Uruguay to attend to him. While Omar recovers, Deirdre quickly gets down to business with the Gund family: if Omar has been unable to secure their cooperation for his book, Deirdre will do so herself, so the two of them can go back to Kansas as quickly as possible and Omar can resume his academic career.

But Omar's own life has begun to take on more urgency than the life of the dead writer who brought him here. Torn between his work and his feelings, between his old life in the American midwest and a possible new life in Uruguay, Omar begins to re-examine what he wants from the world. In the web of jealousy, attraction, rage, and painful memory that is Ocho Rios, Omar must decide his future.

Details

Year
2009
Type of film
Features
Format
35 mm
Director
James Ivory
Producer
Simon Oxley
Editor
John Allen
Screenwriter
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Director of Photography
Javier Aguirresarobe
Production Designer
Andrew Sanders
Sound
Santiago Nunez
Music
Jorge Drexler
Principal Cast
Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexandra Maria Lara, Hiroyuki Sanada, Omar Metwally

Production Company

Merchant Ivory Productions

Sales
Company

Hyde Park