The comfortable daily routines of aging Parisian actor Gilbert Valence, 76, are suddenly shaken when he learns that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have been killed in a car crash. ... See full summary »
Luciano, fresh out of jail, was taken by his brother, Flórido, to serve in the home of wealthy Alfreda. He was surprised when she told him that her greatest desire was to see the Virgin ... See full summary »
Manoel de Oliveira
Luís Miguel Cintra
Manoel is aging film director who travels with the film crew through Portugal in search of the origins of Afonso, a famous French actor whose father emigrated from Portugal to France and in... See full summary »
Four versions of the same story, first in the perspective of a theatre play, second in the perspective of a silent film, third in the perspective of a film of the 50s and finally in a biblical philosophical perspective.
Manoel de Oliveira
Luís Miguel Cintra,
The comfortable daily routines of aging Parisian actor Gilbert Valence, 76, are suddenly shaken when he learns that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have been killed in a car crash. Having to take care of his now-orphaned grandson, he struggles to go on with his lifelong acting career like he's used to. But the roles he is offered -- a flashy TV show and a hectic last-minute replacement in an English-language film of Joyce's Ulysses -- finally convince him that it's time to retire. Written by
If I were to attempt a comparison, I'd think of Mexico's interesting film "Japón." But comparisons are tricky, since they can never capture more than bits and pieces -- and that includes remakes as well.
The languor of this film is consistent with its subject and its theme. Likewise the cinematic device of reflection, full of suggestion without actually insulting the viewer's intelligence by having to show every scene or expression straight on. Perhaps only an old person can appreciate it fully, sensing how solitude gradually creeping into one's life as one ages tends to alter perceptions even of the most common sort. Everything slows down with age. Self-image lingers longest, and to attempt rejuvenation proves futile in the end. At last there is resignation, and maybe a kind of peace.
Given all this, I find no fault with anything except possibly the lack of effective close-ups or more incisive dialogue in the film. Even John Malkovich deserves a chance to prove he is uncharacteristically not just part of a dramatic frieze.
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