A Portuguese immigrant in Holland dies in an accident and is buried in a cemetery in Amsterdam. Soon he discovers that his soul won't rest in peace until his body is laying down in his ...
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A Portuguese immigrant in Holland dies in an accident and is buried in a cemetery in Amsterdam. Soon he discovers that his soul won't rest in peace until his body is laying down in his fatherland. This way he decides to go to Portugal to convince his sister to travel to Amsterdam and bring back his body. The only problem is that the only way for him to be seen or heard by the living is appearing in their dreams. Written by
Josi Lums Alves <email@example.com>
A touching and funny look at homesickness, death, the Portuguese immigrant
I saw this film during its first release in Lisbon. I had already been living there for a year, so I brought some understanding of Portuguese culture to my viewing. The Portuguese/Dutch collaboration is very special in light of the fact that these two countries were once great competing naval powers in the 15th/16th centuries. Their exploration and commerce interestingly led to the first bi-lingual dictionary in Europe, the majority of marine/shipping terms, not to mention massive migrations. The themes of Mortinho Por Chegar a Casa should be familiar to immigrants/migrant workers everywhere.
Coming from a culture with a deep history in immigration, its no surprise the film deftly discusses crucial issues of assimilation, homesickness, and whether or not home is truly "where the heart is." Portuguese immigrants have not only found homes on every continent, but also kept strong ties to the family and culture of their homeland. If the connections back to Lusitania are accepted, even taken for granted in life, what of them in death?
Diogo Infante plays the wandering shade with a forlorn melancholy and confusion. Though the film uses "wandering ghost" devices that have been used since the days of "Topper", the movie still moves along at a pleasing pace. There are occasional moments of cutesy-schmaltz, and they would be less tolerable if Maria de Aires wasn't so endearing.
Herman Jose, keeping in his TV tradition of skewering Portuguese historical figures, provides the best comedic moment as the soccer-fan ghost of Vasco De Gama. Overall a fine example of European co/multi-production.
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