There are two of them, man and boy. They emerge from a sandstorm and pass through the remains of civilization—a few broken walls and a swinging door. Beyond, they see something amazing: a ship sailing calmly through dry land. Only as the pair advance does the vision explain itself. This is the Suez Canal, a shocking stripe of blue. A motorbike buzzes along a road, on the far side, and the rider catches sight of the stragglers. He halts and shouts across the water, “Who are you?,” and again, “Who are you?” We look at the face of the man from the desert. His eyes are even bluer than the canal, but he says nothing. Maybe his tongue is too dry for speech. Maybe he has no answer.
Read the rest of Anthony Lane's portrait of director David Lean.