35mm, rewatched. The final two sequences of this film are extraordinary: that of the first part, with the wind destroying the garden party - a beautiful homage to Renoir's "Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe" - and the last, with the theater in the dark and the rain, at the door of the house, between the departure and reentry of Leonor at home. The rest is above all the superiority of Agustina Bessa Luís' text.
Theatre, as always in Oliveira, is bigger than life: two couples engage in a game of seduction that lasts five years and in which everyone included seems to play a role that, in the end, goes nowhere. Life destroys theatre, and the two couples resign their own fiction. Oliveira, master of perversity, gives Love no chances of winning over the superfluous lives of his characters. Even rain is stronger than passion.
Not but nearly luminous, Party lacks moment, perhaps by design. We find each of its four revelers slack and asleep within his or her sclerotic assumptions, threatening but failing to break with them, before retreating, like the film, back into easy ironies.