The final film in Oliveira’s Tetralogy is its darkest, a fascinating journey to the dangerous extremes of obsessive love. A simultaneous homage to the silent cinema and the original novel by Bessa-Luís, Francisca‘s evocative literary intertitles add a further layer of commentary and complexity to the tragic love affair that slowly destroys the bewitching Fanny Owens and her ne’er-do-well lover. Diffused with an aura of death and the supernatural, Francisca makes striking use of masks and shadows. Francisca marked the start of the remarkable collaboration between Oliveira and maverick producer Paolo Branco who would produce Oliveira’s next twenty films. —Harvard Film Archive
Manoel Cândido Pinto de Oliveira, GCSE (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐnuˈɛɫ doliˈvɐjɾɐ]; born December 11, 1908) is a Portuguese film director born in Cedofeita, Porto. He is currently the oldest active film director in the world.
Manoel de Oliveira was born in Porto, Portugal on December 11, 1908, to Francisco José de Oliveira and Cândida Ferreira Pinto. His family were wealthy industrialists.
Oliveira attended school in Galicia, Spain and his goal as a teenager was to become an actor. He enrolled in Italian film-maker Rino Lupo’s acting school at age 20, but later changed his mind when he saw Walther Ruttmann’s documentary Berlin: Symphony of a City. This prompted him to direct his first film, also a documentary, titled Douro, Faina Fluvial (1931).
He also has the distinction of having acted in the second Portuguese sound film, A Canção de Lisboa (1933).
His first feature film came much later, in 1942. Aniki-Bóbó, a portrait of Oporto’s street children… read more
Oliveira takes the work of Agustina and supplants it, creating an absolutely necessary film that reveals and penetrates, with the passing of time, pieces of the human soul. One of the most devastating movies I have memory of. The intense smell of love and death roam the theatrical scenery of Francisca. These graceful characters are all vampires. Oh crap, bring more brandy.