Manoel de Oliveira

Manoel de Oliveira – Visita ou Memórias e Confissões AKA Memories and Confessions (1982/2015)

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73-year-old De Oliveira decides to make a personal movie that his audience will only know once heis dead. In 1982, the director takes the decision to make a movie about (and in) his (ex) house, in which he lived for over 40 years. The initial still shot is held for a long while with the presence oftrees in the garden of his house in Oporto. De Oliveira himself introduces the film and speaks all the credits out. The voices of a man and a woman guide us for most of the first part, in a sort of preliminary and formal tour around the totality of the house. They remain out of frame and the camera perspective is not necessarily theirs. After a few minutes, we see De Oliveira for the first time, writing on a typewriter at his desk. The most surprising element, in narrative terms, is the recreation of his arrest and his stay in a dungeon in times of the Portuguese military regime, during the 60s. Right from the start, the word memoryis a relevant operative term; the confession becomes explicit around half through the film. Read More »

Manoel de Oliveira – O Estranho Caso de Angélica AKA The Strange Case of Angelica (2010)

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Isaac is a young photographer living in a boarding house in Régua. In the middle of the night, he receives an urgent call from a wealthy family to come and take the last photograph of their daughter, Angelica, who died just a few days after her wedding. Arriving at the house of mourning, Isaac gets his first glimpse of Angelica and is overwhelmed by her beauty. As soon as he looks at her through the lens of his camera, the young woman appears to come back to life just for him. Isaac instantly falls in love with her. From that moment on, Angelica will haunt him night and day, until exhaustion. Read More »

Manoel de Oliveira – A Divina Comédia AKA The Divine Comedy (1991)

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In a mental institution the patients see themselves as people like Jesus, Lázaro, Marta, Maria, Adão, Eve, Sonia, Raskolnikov, Aliosha e Ivan Karamasov, a Philosopher, a Profet, Santa Teresa d’Avila, reciting the Divine Comedy. Read More »

Aki Kaurismäki, Pedro Costa, Víctor Erice, Manoel de Oliveira – Centro Histórico (2012)

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Commissioned to promote the sleepy Portuguese city of Guimarães as a 2012 European Capital of Culture, this omnibus curio brings together an illustrious quartet of international cinema auteurs and invites them to roam through picturesque town squares, abandoned industrial sites and the ghostly remains of national history. In the first segment, Finnish favorite Aki Kaurismaki, in customary deadpan mode, finds bleak humor in the comings and goings of a hapless café proprietor whose business and romantic prospects dwindle as he daydreams of dancing. Next, native son Pedro Costa deploys his rigorous formalism (static shots, unstinting gazes, disembodied speech) to interrogate a former Cape Verdean revolutionary who flees the unnerving accusations of a calcified soldier through dead-of-night forays into an enchanted forest. Read More »

Manoel de Oliveira – Viagem ao Princípio do Mundo AKA Voyage to the Beginning of the World (1997)

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One of the most beautiful films ever made about aging. Voyage To The Beginning Of The World brings together 90-year-old Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira and Italian icon Marcello Mastroianni, in what would be his last film. Playing a filmmaker clearly based on Oliveira, Mastroianni takes three actor friends on a driving tour of a mountain village, where one of the actors (Jean-Yves Gautier) is united with the elderly aunt he has never met.

Family becomes the link between the past and present, in a film of great simplicity, dignity and wisdom. Through Mastroianni, Oliveira speculates on beginnings and endings. The village is in the north (where the Portuguese nation began) on what remains of the past (a primitive wooden statue, the meaning of which has been lost) and on what disappears (the ruins of a hotel). The cinematography, by Renato Berta, is at once radiantly clear and surrealistically devoid of detail – as if what were seeing was already a recollection. (-Dave Kehr, NY Daily News – DVD Backcover) Read More »

Manoel de Oliveira – O Gebo e a Sombra (2012)

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Gebo (Lonsdale) is an elderly accountant who lives with his wife Doroteia (Cardinale) and his daughter-in-law Sofia (Silveira). Despite his advanced age and increasing fatigue, he continues to work to provide for his family. Doroteia is concerned for her son João (Trêpa), who has been missing for some time. Gebo and Sofia have some idea of João’s whereabouts, having spotted him begging and living in the streets. But Gebo, who doesn’t want to destroy Doroteia’s idealized version of her son, conceals the truth from her. When João returns to the family home, however, this falsehood proves to have disastrous consequences, as the prodigal son is unable to resist the temptation of a bag of money entrusted to Gebo’s keeping. Read More »