A rare example of a promotional portmanteau film being imbued with the personality of the directors involved. Kaurismaki, Costa and de Oliveira, in one of his last works, deliver neat little representative slices of their own cinema but it is Erice's documentary about a now-closed textiles factory that steals the show. A fine film produced by an admirable little town.
Studied ritual in Kaurismaki's piece (the plot was crap, but plot schmot). Costa's was masterful poetry, though I couldn't connect. I have a great detached admiration for his work. Erice, Erice, Erice. Straight to the heart. So simple. Not sure what really happened in Oliveira's as it was hard to understand the megaphone, but got a kick out of it.
An immensely rewarding potmenteau film with four gems. Kaurismaki does wonders with his usual colorfully mute stoicism, Costa's is a tour-de-force ascent from the Hades of history to the Light of Redemption, Erice's a stunning portrait of more than a century factory work, covering child labor, migration, alienation, solidarity, virtual capitalism and De Oliveira's a sweet final touch on the bulimic tourist gaze.
Four very inspiring short films, each with its own vision of a similar subject: what is the birthplace of Portugal today? What does it represent for Europe? It’s hard not to compare them: Erice’s and Costa’s involve a more paused and dense reflection through different layers of reality, but Kaurismaki’s and de Oliveira’s more comedic and apparently superficial approach is not to be overlooked.
Not bad, but not so good. Kaurismaki does Kaurismaki, but nothing unforgettable and above all not connected to Guimaraes. Costa proposes the most interesting and powerful visual idea, but perhaps its part lasts too long. The documentary of Erice is a good historical testimony, but as a narrative it is really too static. Oliveira's is probably the most functional contribution to the idea of "short film on Guimaraes".
Despite the fact that Kaurismaki is one of the dearest human beings on Earth and that his films are usually the rare lights cast upon the bleak and the ugly products of the contemporary cinema, it's Victor Erice's segment the only one that was actually worth seeing here.
Five stars for Erice's poignant segment. It is the masterpiece of this film. It holds all the subtlety the other segments are lacking so much. Costa's outré segment is formally impressive but feels underachieved considering it's obvious ambition and political underlying theme. Kaurismaki's and De Oliveira's are not even worth mentioning.
Like most anthology movies, this has one or two that don't work as well as others. The first tale is great, the second was my least favourite, the third is both interesting and yet also a bit dull (due to the idea being stretched a bit too thin), and the brief final tale is a fun one to end on.
If there is a central theme uniting these films, it is that of saudade, the bittersweet melancholy of loss. This came through most strongly for me in Erice's deeply humane film, with its compassionate trust in the power of human lives and human stories to create a drama of their own. I agree it does not display the stylistic virtuosity of Costa's piece but I found it deeply moving.
These collection of films starts with a real gem of a dark comedy by Kaurismaki and stumbles into fascinating although ultimately frustrating territory with Pedro Costa’s history-reliant theatrical short. Victor Erice’s documentary short impresses with his collaborative work with non-actors and really moves. Finally, master Oliveira’s micro-short takes the compilation to an abrupt ending but leaves you with a smile
I've seen only Pedro Costa's segment and it's 5+ stars worth. It's a work that screams with anger and deep sorrow about an infernal past, but limiting itself only to evoke with a still, feverish intensity, images of an adult life lived in fear and desperation. It reminds one of an Aeschylus play in its way of conveying emotionally charged visions while staying most of time in the same confined space.
Starts with an unhappy cafe owner? Then a man in pajamas and a soldier in an elevator that was like Derek Jarman meets Joseph Beuys. "Prime minister, bankruptcy! You're worshipping Satan, boy?" Loved the old factory worker photo and the interviews. "I'll be 77 soon, and I still don't know what happiness is. They talk about it all the time on TV. But to be honest, I'm not sure what it is." And then some tourists.