The story starts with a postcard and a cryptic message: “Dear Phil. I cannot continue m.o.s.! S.O.S.! Come to Lisbon with all your stuff a.s.a.p.! Big hug, Fritz.”
Who is who? And what do all those abbreviations mean? The S.O.S., of course, is obvious, and a.s.a.p. only strengthens the urgency: come as soon as possible. But m.o.s.? Only someone who has worked on a film set before might know that the expression dates back to the early years of sound films and according to legend Erich von Stroheim, who wanted to continue shooting without sound, coined the term “mit out sound”.
It soon becomes clear: The postcard comes from the director Friedrich Munroe (Patrick Bauchau) who asks his friend Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) to come to his aid. Friedrich single-handedly shoots a film in Lisbon and Winter is a sound engineer. He’s stuck: he wanted to shoot a film as if the whole history of film had not taken place. One man alone in the streets, with a crank handle camera, just like Buster Keaton in “The Cameraman”. Now he hopes that Winter’s microphone can pull his pictures “out of the darkness” and just save his entire undertaking.
The film is a hommage to the city of Lisbon and a bow to the history of film for which 100th birthday it was made. The soundtrack made the group Madradeus world-famous.