Fernando Lopes – Uma Abelha na Chuva AKA A Bee in the Rain (1972)

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This Portuguese drama examines the daily life minutiae and intrigues of two scions of society in the rural village where they live. One is a wealthy landowner, the other a widowed aristocrat who lives in a world of her own. “Starting off from a fine novel by Carlos de Oliveira, Fernando Lopes doesn’t so mush reconstitute a story, but rather defines an atmosphere parallel to that which exists in the literary work. The erosion of time, the crumbling of an epoch, the decline of a stately home, the disintegration of emotions: the film version of A Bee in the Rain talks about all these things, using a language that is sparse and unpolished, fascinating and at the same time repulsive in its disturbing silence” (Lauro Antonio). Continue reading

Miguel Gomes – Cántico das criaturas AKA Canticle of all Creatures (2006) (HD)

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Synopsis
Assis 2005: a troubadour walks the streets of St. Francis of Assisi hometown, singing and playing the Song of Brother Sun or Song of the Creatures, written by St. Francis back in the winter of 1224. Woods of Umbria, 1212: during one preaching to the birds, St. Francis suddenly faints. Reanimated by St. Clare, the saint looks strange and absent and he doesn’t remember anything. When the night falls, the animals in the forest sing and praise Francis. But this love sung by the animals leads to a feeling of possession, a desire of exclusivity usually known as jealousy. Continue reading

Pedro Costa – Cavalo Dinheiro AKA Horse Money (2014)

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A phantasmagorical vision of psychological purgatory, Horse Money (Cavalo dinheiro) will enrapture some while leaving others dangling in frustrated limbo. Only the sixth fictional feature from Portuguese writer-director Pedro Costa in the quarter-century since his 1989 debut Blood, its austere opacity will convert few to the Costa cause. But it will undoubtedly confirm his exalted status among cinephiles and cineastes as an inspirationally uncompromising and uncompromised auteur.

Winner of Best Director at Locarno and confirmed for North American festival play at Toronto and New York, this tenebrous meander around one man’s troubled psyche will likely emulate its predecessor Colossal Youth (2006) by scoring limited theatrical exposure in receptive territories off the back of what is, by this stage regarding Costa, near-automatic critical adulation. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – A Caça AKA The Hunt (1964)

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“A caça” is one Oliveira’s most distressing and mysterious films. Two boys, Roberto and José, enter a hunting ground, flooded with marshes. José falls into a quagmire and Roberto runs to the village looking for help. The locals form a human chain to save the victim…

“I conceived ‘A caça’ after reading in a newspaper that a boy was sucked down into a pit of quicksand and the other, due to fear, fled without helping him. The movie is based on this event.” In this laconic way, Oliveira summarizes his purpose. His first intention was to make a feature film about such an anguishing event. Continue reading

João Botelho – Tempos Difíceis AKA Hard Times (1988)

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Even if adapted from Dickens’ Hard Times, the writer’s world fits perfectly in the Portuguese reality of these times. In a hamlet, that functions as a social microcosms, great wealth & extreme poverty mingle, so do culture, ignorance, perversion & ignorance. Griffith’s channelled via Júlia Britton. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – O Velho do Restelo AKA The Old Man of Belem (2014)

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Glory is often met with opposition, and whether victorious or defeated, we always hold fate responsible. Don Quixote de La Mancha came along sixteen years after the defeat of the Invincible Fleet and has erred the Earth ever since. Today he will join a meeting between old friends in the garden of eternity, in which the glories of the past and the uncertainty of the future will be thoroughly discussed. Continue reading