A typically eccentric, playful post-post-modern account of dynastic and domestic intrigue involving a seemingly pure heroine, her wealthy husband, his childhood friend the maid's son (who has always loved the girl), and his friend, a seductive and seemingly Machiavellian brothel madame. If that sounds complex, it's as nothing compared to the ludicrously ornate opening exegesis (complete with speculation on bizarre nicknames) offered by two men on the fringes of what little action there is - mostly the film comprises static, stylised tableaux of often impenetrable talk. Then there are the endless, minimally varied shots of the Douro valley, from trains or from high above Oporto. For admirers in the right mood, the parodic absurdity and syntactical experimentation is deliciously funny; otherwise, the discussions over split characters, tragic heroines and so forth may leave you cold. (From the novel Jóia de Família by Augustina Bessa-Luis.