A well-bred, lovely, spiritual, sad young woman marries an attentive physician who loves her. She feels affection but no love. Soon after, without design, she falls in love with Pedro ... See full summary »
A well-bred, lovely, spiritual, sad young woman marries an attentive physician who loves her. She feels affection but no love. Soon after, without design, she falls in love with Pedro Abrunhosa, a poet and performance artist. He also loves her. She keeps her distance from him, confessing her love to a friend who is a nun and, later, to her husband. Hunger for her love and jealousy consume him; she attends him as he wastes away. With his death, she can marry and express her passion, but what she does and how she explains herself, particularly to her cloistered friend, is at the heart of the film. Glimpses of convent life and of Abrunhosa on stage give contrast and mute comment. Written by
A masterpiece from a relatively unknown master in his 90s, but a masterpiece that refuses to play the 'great film' game. The excessive reliance on dialogue, stilted performances, ludicrous stylisation and verbose intertitles; the refusal to completely modernise the 17th century material, leaving it in a temporal flatness; all point to gauche filmmaking, but de Oliveira has the last laugh, and as the rhythms and patterns of his editing and framing become apparent, as the deadpan comedy emerges, we notice the stunning labyrinth of repetition he is cunningly weaving, and the film becomes satirically forceful, metaphysically complex, but, most importantly, heartbreakingly human.
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