Dave, I looked at your notes on the 5th empire and they are pretty accurate. Have you read the Mensagem? That’s like the last incarnation of the myth.
In general I am a bit put off by the long static shots of Oliveira and the endless dialogues. His movies I enjoy the most are the ones where that is somehow less evident (Vale Abraao being the prime example).
There’s an article in the latest Sight and Sound that is very complimentary about Portugal’s IndieLisboa festival, it seems there’s more optimism over Portuguese films now. The winner of Best Portuguese film at the festival was Ruins, a “superb” cine-essay by Manuel Mozos, while this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner for best short film, Arena by Salaviza is described as “mesmerising”.
Still waiting for De Oliveira’s No, but I recently watched Pedro Costa’s Casa De Lava. This is an outstanding film that doesn’t remind me of much else. I havent’ seen the Tourneur film that inspired it but it Costa has a very original visual style. I am even more anxious to have the Fontainhas trilogy released. Hopefully the Sight and Sound article and this thread will help convince Criterion that now is the time.
I watched Non and found it to be pretty spectacular. It demands rewatching but it reminded me of a more explicit Angelopoulos. I get a similar feeling of deep regret for lost myths and opportunities from the greek director’s films. Not the same, but similar.
I may be compensating because I really enjoyed the film overall but the budgetary issues with the battle scenes seemed to work for the film. I don’t think Oliveira would have done them much differently with a larger budget because keeping those scenes awkward and small scale makes the continuity between the modern soldiers and the legendary battles flow better. I like the subtle way he makes ordinary modern military life seem mythological (using shadows and light) while on the other hand making legends look rather humdrum. An awesome film.
Oh i liked the battle of Alcacar-Quibir scenes well enough it’s just that the film had such a big write-up by Gilbert Adair and an image he chose from the battle was so appealing i’d hoped for something really spectacular, so it’s more a question of revised thinking and understanding. Adair says “a national destiny as an almost uninterrupted sequences of defeats: it is simply inconceivable that the cinema of any other country treat its own history with such lucid, limpid disrespect”. Whether he’s right, the opening Angolan scene with the beautiful tree and river often used to come to mind on my walks in Wales, especially a lush patch of the Brecon-Monmouth canal. The other films that have most often had similar effects on walks are Tarkovsky’s Stalker and Mirror
More from Adair: “nothing would be more futile than attempting to offer a pithy thumbnail sketch of Oliveira…nothing would be more futile than attempting to convey in a few words his consistently sumptuous imagery, his theatricality, his perversity, versatility and virtuosity”. That versatility and elusiveness has probably counted against him in auteurist circles. But Portugal is at the edge of Europe, (Atlantic not Mediterranean), such a magnificent seafaring tradition that changed the world, yet its culture so neglected compared with some others in Europe
Not much, I’m afraid. Only know about Oliveras.
It may look surprising, but Non was at its time the most expensive Portuguese film ever made, which means that probably he did the battle scene that he had just in mind. That might be his most watched movie in Portugal. It was filmed near my hometown and I remember going once on a field trip with my high school mates to see a movie being made.
It has been a long time since i last saw it. You are giving me motivation to see it again…
All the big names have been mentioned: M. Oliveira, JC Monteiro, Pedro Costa, Teresa Villaverde and João Canijo, being the “most autuers” of them all.
I’ve grown some curiosity to see the Novo Cinema (60 to 80’s), although it is sometimes hard to find the early works of AP Vasconcelos, Paulo Rocha, António de Macedo, Fernando Lopes and António da Cunha Teles.
Most recent directors like Marco Martins, JP Rodrigues and Sandro Aguilar are the ones to follow.
Would be thrilled to see a Criterion edition of any of those artists’ works.
I don´t think that Criterion will release any of those, and it would already be surprising if they made the effort to pick up some of Oliveira´s masterworks most of which are sadly just availabe as Italian subtitled copies since they were shown on RAI a couple of years ago. I recently watched Benilde or the Virgin Mother which is an astonishing minimalistic account on religion and belief reminescent of Dreyer´s best works, and subtly reduced into the space of a living-room where all important discussions take place. I wonder if anyone has seen his most epical movies “Doomed Love” and “The Satin Slipper” and would consider those to be masterpieces. There is certainly still a lot of great Portuguese cinema to discover which will rather unlikely be seen in other places than some obscure cinemateques. I´m curious to get to know about some of those Novo Cinema films made around the same time as their Brazilian counterpart, but there will certainly be some searching abilities needed.
Oliveira should get an Eclipse box (or 8).
Hi Everyone! I’m really glad (as portuguese and as film student) to have find this topic! Not sure if its still hot, but I would like to ask for some advice!
This sounds silly, but I’m months away from completing a master about male stereotypes in a particular group of Spanish films. I’ve decided (literally) minutes ago that after finishing it, to start a PhD proposal on male ‘presences’ in Portuguese cinema. I’m guessing this is a particular innovative research (in english language), but I would like to ask your advise on this. Do you know academic or any book with a similar subject?
Oliveria is the master of Portuguese cinema that is all I know about it
to jo or anyone who has knowledge on cinema from Portugal. The imdb has an annual awrd called the golden globes- Portugal. My question is is that the only annual film award in Portugal pertaining to Portugeuse cinema? I know there is a critics organization called FIPRESCI-Portugal and I received a letter from one member about five years ago told me that the critics organization does not give out awards. So i wonder if they had deceided to do this now or is there an annual critics poll in that country published in a film magazine or in the nation’s newspapers.
Now we’re into 2010, with Oliveira in pre-production on The Strange Case of Angelica, this is 10 different decades the great man has been involved in making films (started making Douro Faina Fluvial in 1929). Even with increasing life expectancies i expect this record to stand for quite some time. I’m looking forward to his last one, Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl, which seems to have been well received by many critics.
Oh and i recently really enjoyed Pedro Costa’s film Blood/O Sangue (1989), a beautiful and mysterious b+w film, with something of Night of the Hunter about it (well, an outstretched arm, a riverbank and beautiful lighting anyway) and even a couple of shots that brought to mind first Mizoguchi’s great tracking shot along an embankment in Story of the Late Chrysanthemums, then Ugetsu’s misty waters.