Portuguese filmmaker Ricardo Costa's "docufiction" is based on the slender premise that an unnamed protagonist---played by the director, a man fond of sunglasses and rakishly angled berets---has reunited with Maria (Silva), a woman who worked as a maid in his childhood home. More than 50 years have passed since they last saw each other, and Mists explores Maria's present life with her children and grandchildren in the small fishing town of Peniche. Costa's odd hybrid premiered at the Venice Film Festival back in 2003, and one suspects the reason it's only now reaching theaters is that, for the most part, it's a slow-going slog broken up by occasional moments of rewarding beauty you'd expect from a picturesque, white-walled seaside location.
Prepare for long takes of kids playing and the elderly talking about the old days---not all of them good, as a former political prisoner under dictator Antonio Salazar would attest. But whatever ideas the film has about the weight of time passing are lost in a formlessness that can be chalked up to clumsy construction. An overall amateurish look and the needless inclusion of Costa's character---who confuses more than clarifies the structure---don't do this woeful cinematic essay any favors.