In Rita Azevedo Gomes’ A PORTUGUESA, war and love are the absolute values that define the conflict between man and woman. The film is an adaptation of a short story by Robert Musil, as filtered through the spirit of Agustina Bessa-Luis, frequent collaborator of Manoel de Oliveira. Clara Riedenstein plays the enigmatic, unnamed, obstinate, and intelligent protagonist – a woman who, after marrying von Ketten, travels to his country and spends eleven years waiting for his return from war. A PORTUGUESA is a film about patience, stoicism, and strategy that puts in crisis the very notion of action. With magnificent sound design, and shot in long takes that favour depth of field and the careful organisation of props and figures, the film pays great attention to colour, texture, and light. Azevedo Gomes avoids many clichés of the costume drama: instead of palace intrigues, the film tackles mystery at its fullest; animals are everywhere, triggering the most extreme emotions; there’s a sharp critique of power and religion, while the film relishes in its rituals and ceremonies; and there are many turbulent, subterranean currents, from carnal love to the devil’s hand.
– Cristina Álvarez López
4.89GB | 2h 16min | 1920×1080 | mkv