Botelho's third feature is a modern-day adaptation of Dickens' novel, set in a strangely timeless Lisbon. Constructed for the most part from static tableaux shot in stunning black-and-white, performed with a stylised detachment, and littered with intriguing, even startling narrative ellipses, it is serious but never solemn. Indeed, for all the personal tragedy on view, much of the film is very funny with Dickens' purple and eccentric text (often spoken in voice-over) complemented by and contrasted with Elso Roque's starkly poetic images. It's a tale of jealousy, robbery, and disillusionment; of stern, forbidding patriarchs, downtrodden wives and workers, and orphans making good, in a world both defined and confined by its unflinching commitment to facts as opposed to feelings. The film's manifest intelligence and profound sense of irony knocks spots off most British literary adaptations, while simultaneously constituting a love letter to cinema itself.