Within the splendor of her country estate, Alfreda attempts to decipher the source of the Virgin Mary’s reported wealth, debating with a Bible scholar about the limits of sainthood and the material world. Meanwhile, a team of crooks plans to fleece Alfreda through an elaborate fabricated miracle that goes strangely awry. The Magic Mirror is one of Oliveira’s several adaptations of the work of his close friend Agustina Bessa-Luis, one of Portugal’s foremost modernist novelists. Here he turns her eponymous novel into a mysterious satire of religion and the idle rich in the tradition of Buñuel’s late films. A sophisticated comedy and a deeply philosophical work, The Magic Mirror boasts a cast of Oliveira regulars as well as the great Marisa Paredes. —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