Oliveira’s dream-like semi-documentary reenacts the final hours of Doomed Love author Branco, believed by many to be Portugal’s equivalant to Cervantes. Considered by Oliveira scholar Randal Johnson as one of the director’s finest and least appreciated works, Day of Despair closely follows Branco’s writing process and speculates about the relationship between the author’s private monologue and written word. Oliveira carefully weighs each of the acts and gestures leading up to Branco’s tragic and still unexplained death, searching for clues and discovering a rich poetry of ambient sounds and evocative textures. —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