Stylised as a superior mixture of German Expressionism and American Gothic, this confrontation between an observer and a feudal baron has rightly been described as Kafkaesque. It reveals itself as a remake of a film destroyed in the 1940s by the repressive Portuguese regime.
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In the first sight I became captive of the film's visual aesthetic. However the kind of masterpiece I was thinking just fell short on its ambitions. Edgar Pêra overdoes his own technique. Too much overlapping and too much crossfading going on. Nonetheless, a flawless Nuno Melo and some strokes of brilliance throughout the movie.
Os exageros estilísticos seriam maioritariamente em vão não fosse pelo Nuno Melo. Ele É o Barão, e a atenção que domina com os seus monólogos segura as pontas de uma produção "draculiana" de outra forma medíocre que se leva a sério sem o fazer propriamente. Em suma, um filme B como deve ser.
Excellent exercise in style and expressionist/noir aesthetics. Nuno Melo is colossal as The Baron and proves that, when working with good directors, portuguese actors can be outstanding. The music by Vozes da Rádio is ominous and enhances the film's opressive atmosphere. The moment when the Tuna plays the drums is one of the greatest in contemporary portuguese cinema.
Had it not lost touch with its intentions (that were almost settled) and its story, this movie could've been so much greater - as it promises to be from the start. Although the atmosphere is so well crafted, it's, regrettably, misguided by the dizziness created by its sequences. Melo's performance is radiant and the ending is satisfying.
One of my favorite films of this year: the fictional history of a US-American director called Valerie Lewton (!) and her lost Portuguese movie, "The Baron" is designed as a reconstruction of the recently found print including double projections. It's amazing how spot-on director Pera is in evoking the visual extravaganza of Val Lewton's productions and how hallucinogenic his own movie has become. Mesmerizing!