Pascali's Island (1988) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 1908: Basil Pascali (Sir Ben Kingsley), a spy for the Sultan, sends reports to Istanbul that nobody reads. His suspicions are roused when a British archeologist appears, who may not be quite what he seems.


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  • Pascali,played by Ben Kingsley is a local Turk on the island during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. He scratched out a living serving the tourist,plus getting a stipend from the Turkish government in Constantinople for being a good spy . He sent report to the government every month,but never get any feedback from them,although the check never fail to come . Mr Bowles played by Charles Dance is an archiologist,also a con man who goes around the Mediterranean paying local government to lease land and dig up antique artifacts when in fact these artifacts are his own . He asked Pascali to serve as translator to negotiate a lease with the local Pasha,offering 500 liras to lease land and find artifacts for his book. In the mean time,the local Greek guerillas are active on the island trying to overthrow the Turks,buying weapons from the Americans while a local German armsdealer do likewise with the Turks. Mr Bowles claimed he has found valuable artifacts on the island and presented the local Pasha a gold and turquoise necklace,a marble head ,the Pasha is only interested in the gold and asked if there are more gold not yet discovered. Pasha wants to buy the lease back and Mr Bowles demanded 2000 liras,finally settled for 1500 liras,making a 300% killing! What Pascali and Mr Bowles did not realise is that the Pasha has already sold the land to the Turkish government,the soil contains terra rosa which is red soil with bauxite which is used to make aluminium. Mr Bowles,while digging around,found a bronze Greek statue and decided to remove it with the help of a local Austrian woman played by Helen Mirren and the Americans,and promised Pascali 500 liras so he can leave the island when the Ottoman Empire falls. Pascali did not trust Mr Bowles so he reported him to the Pasha that they are going to steal the bronze figurine and led them to the site where Bowles and the crew were trying to lift the statue ,the soldiers killed all including the Austrian lady whom Pascali is secretly in love with. Pascali went back to his apartment and found a sum of 500 liras and a note from Mr Bowles that an American ship will be waiting to take him out of the island as it is no longer safe for him to stay after the fall of the Turks. Pascali felt very bad and cried and cried, End of the story

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