Manoel de Oliveira was born in 1908 and made his first movie in 1929. It's no surprise then that this 1997 production feels like an old man's film. Manoel, a Portuguese director (Mastroianni), revisits childhood haunts on a pilgrimage with his actors and collaborators, Afonso (Gautier), Judite (Silveira) and Duarte (Dória). Oliveira keeps it simple. Conversations are interspersed with shots from the moving car. They stop by a river and look across to the Jesuit college Manoel attended. He reminisces and flirts with Judite - then they drive on. The first half is rambling and pretentious - unless you share Oliveira's obvious fondness for Manoel. Then a strange thing happens. With scant warning, attention shifts to Afonso - in fact, it transpires that this pilgrimage is for his benefit, a visit to his dead father's sister in a remote peasant village. They've never met before, and Afonso's aunt is hostile and suspicious. The scene in which he breaks through is a sustained tour de force. Oliveira's insistence on stasis and change, saudades - nostalgia, history, atavism - these themes find an emotional hold in the face of actress Isabel de Castro.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Manoel de Oliveira|
|Screenwriter:||Manoel de Oliveira|
Isabel de Castro
Manoel de Oliveira