Manoel de Oliveira’s epic rendering of playwright Paul Claudel’s verse masterwork opens with a quote: “Everything happens for the glory of God, even sin.” Set during Spain’s “Golden Age,” the story then begins as Doña Prouhèze, the wife of a Spanish nobleman, falls in love with Don Rodrigo; Rodrigo is sent to be the Governor of New Spain in America, while Prouhèze becomes the ruler of Mogador in Africa. Yet despite their separation by oceans or continents, their love—of course totally forbidden, and thus impossible—continues to grow, sweeping up all those around them as well as the Spanish Empire in its wake. As always, Oliveira is a master at creating a sense of period and place from the most minimal of details, a talent well on display in a story of unrequited lovers that unfolds across several decades on four continents, the lovers’ separation only increasing the intensity of their feeling. –NYFF
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
An English subtitled version of Oliveira’s 7-hour masterpiece made after Doomed Love and Francisca.