In one of De Oliveira’s crowning achievements, the great Michel Piccoli stars as Gilbert Valence, a celebrated actor who loses his daughter and son-in-law in a car crash, and gradually puts the pieces of his life back together.
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Oliveira draws a comparison between Picolli's character and Ionesco's Exit the King, and portrays a man confronted to oldness and new responsibilities as he should take care of his grandson after his parents die.
It's a great study of character, and Picolli's performance is superb, probably one of the best of his career.
há muita coisa neste filme curto mas impactante, ternurento em contra-mão (não se fala de velhice assim, Manoel). há um Picolli que se aceita e abrange muito mais que um personagem. há os planos - os sapatos, os quadros no café - em repetição imortalizando não uma figura mas um gesto. envelhecer, saberia Oliveira melhor que ninguém, é talvez nada mais que aceitar.
A delightfully warmhearted film. The story eschews any sensationalism which the main catalyst would normally create in a lesser film, with the drama kept firmly on the stage. Gentle humour and finely drawn musings with Piccoli disarmingly charming in lead.
This is unlike everything i've seen by Oliveira so far. A combination of his theatre-like and realist-humanist early works in an observant and dry tone; and not without his little funny moment that comes out of nowhere. Plus he gets rid of the iconic voice-over thus establishing a space that connects theatre, cinema and daily life. Oliveira adapts with time so well, who can expect he's the man who made Doomed Love
There's pleasure in watching Piccoli amble through life - his quiet satisfaction at a new pair of shoes. Even the death of his family appears to be handled aimiably. Gilbert is immune to offstage drama and this is a film that prefers to watch an extra unfolding his copy of Le Figaro. John Malkovitch is an implausible villain, detracting from Gilbert's snap - an unexpected, quiet ending that doesn't quite ring true.
I see the symbolism, I like the locations but something makes me unconformable in this film, and not in the pleasant way. I think it ii the theatrical nature of the delivery but I am not completely convinced. In short, I was not pusehd away but never felt good about the film.