Manoel is an aging film director who travels with his film crew through Portugal in search of the origins of Afonso, a famous French actor whose father emigrated from Portugal to France, and in process remembers his own youth.
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A film of translucent and concurrent imbrications, of cultural, temporal, identity strata held together by the labor of love. Living in both noumenal and phenomenal time, it's arguable which is substantial, more 'real', when one sees the young girl under the beloved's wrinkles or hears forgotten laughter soaring from demolished walls. What is blunt realism to Oliveira's 'agonistas' than gross abstraction, Procrustes
You have to be be imaginative to like this film. With long shots of roads viewed from a car, with the sound of rivers that exists only in the characters's memory, with sceneries of the past recreated from decayed present monuments, Manoel de Oliveira doesn't play with your nerves but with your intelligence. Recommended.
The most "commercial" film by Dom Manoel, is also his submission to the worldwide audience. Never the words were so vital in a film. Many subjects: the loss of family and language, the identity of a filmmaker or an actor, the Time. Beautiful reflection where life is linked with death in a circular motion.
Marcello Mastroianni- I love you, you truly are my favorite actor of all time. Manoel de Oliveira, who is quietly becoming one of my favorite directors, directed you in your final film, which is a fitting ending to your phenomenal career in this meditative piece about time and the significance of life. Ti amo Marcello!