“Until you turn 30, you have the face God gave you. After that, you have the face you deserve.” The estranged musical comedy that is Gomes’ first feature film seeks to convince its protagonist, Francisco, of that saying/dogma; precisely, during his thirtieth birthday. Or maybe it’s the complete opposite, and that Francisco who dresses up as a cowboy for the school play at the school where he teaches the children he detests, seeks to convince A cara que mereces of the fatality of the little phrase. But Francisco is a trick: he knows he deserves his face and his body because of him being intolerable. And A cara que mereces, hunted hunter, becomes a claustrophobic film that seeks to run away from Francisco using cinephilia as a way of escape; boarding, as Mark Peranson has observed, to the heart of Rivette, to the train (of dreams) of the recent Godard and, finally, to an impossible (but well-deserved) version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Miguel Gomes (b. 1972) began first as a film critic before directing a series of refreshingly eccentric short films that revealed his innate talents as a sensual visual stylist interested in an intensely image based narrative in which music plays an equal role to dialogue. Gomes’ early “musical comedies” offer important keys to his feature films by revealing the important inspiration of both musical cinema and the silent film to his uniquely playful and imaginative approach to narrative. The unique energy and puckish charm of Gomes’ little known debut, the Alice in Wonderland-meets-Jacque Rivette narrative puzzle, The Face That You Deserve, took the ludic tendencies of his cinema to a furthest extreme. The festival favorite My Beloved Month of August turned a new and important direction by responding to the “post-documentary” mode of innovative and unclassifiable non-fiction cinema championed by Costa and defined earlier by pioneering works such as Oliveira’s Rite of Spring (1963… read more
Gomes first feature is an inventive but certainly overindulgent mess of a film that definitely deserves the term unique prescribed to it. The first chapter is a somewhat fun mix of musical, sad sack comedy and satire; but the second chapter, and bulk of the film, is a veiled satire on human nature using snow white and the seven dwarfs as its jumping off point. Not as interesting as it sounds.
A Ceuta do império cinematográfico que Miguel Gomes anda a construir. Um coming-of-age ao contrário, musicado por uma crise de identidade. Preserva o encanto de, por exemplo, um Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, mas consegue ser mais realista, sem, ao mesmo tempo, entrar no realismo mágico.
I could say that Miguel Gomes is not fully understood by the critics and the public. His stories are allegories made by a person whose mind is boiling ideas and new conceptions about the world as we see it. Miguel Gomes can easily create another world or perception. How many directors are capable of doing that?