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The Uncertainty Principle (2002) More at IMDbPro »O Princípio da Incerteza (original title)

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Release Date:
30 August 2002 (Italy) See more »
Having lost her place among the social elite, a widow remarries and starts a family. | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE (Manoel De Oliveira, 2002) ** See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order)
Leonor Baldaque ... Camila
Leonor Silveira ... Vanessa
Isabel Ruth ... Celsa
Ricardo Trêpa ... José Feliciano, 'Touro Azul' / Fiscal

Ivo Canelas ... António Clara
Luís Miguel Cintra ... Daniel Roper
José Manuel Mendes ... Torcato Roper
Carmen Santos ... Joana
Cecília Guimarães ... Rute
Júlia Buisel ... Aunt Tofi
Ângela Marques ... Adoração
Diogo Dória ... Policeman
António Fonseca ... Policeman
João Bénard da Costa ... Mr. Ferreira (as Duarte de Almeida)
P. João Marques ... Priest
António Costa ... Tiago
David Cardoso ... Overman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
António Reis
Adelaide Teixeira ... Mãe
Joana Loureiro ... Lady (uncredited)

Directed by
Manoel de Oliveira 
Writing credits
Agustina Bessa-Luís (novel "Jóia de Família")

Manoel de Oliveira 

Jacques Parsi (collaboration) and
Júlia Buisel (collaboration) and
António Costa (collaboration)

Produced by
Paulo Branco .... producer
Cinematography by
Renato Berta 
Film Editing by
Manoel de Oliveira 
Catherine Krassovsky 
Production Design by
Zé Branco 
Costume Design by
Isabel Branco 
Makeup Department
Aracelli Fuente .... key makeup artist
Philippe Mangin .... key hair stylist
Production Management
Joaquim Carvalho .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nuno Milagre .... second assistant director
José Maria Vaz da Silva .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Jean-François Auger .... sound editor
Jean-François Auger .... sound mixer
Henri Maïkoff .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Manuel Ramos .... key grip
Music Department
Shlomo Mintz .... musician
Other crew
Júlia Buisel .... script supervisor
Joana Ferreira .... unit manager
Renata Sancho .... continuity

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"O Princípio da Incerteza" - France (original title)
See more »
133 min (Cannes Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Two of the leads of the movie are grandchildren of the director/co-writer and the novelist whose book inspired the movie. Leonor Baldaque is the granddaughter of novelist Agustina Bessa-Luís, while Ricardo Trêpa is of Manoel de Oliveira.See more »
Movie Connections:
Followed by Magic Mirror (2005)See more »
24 caprici per violino, op. 1See more »


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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE (Manoel De Oliveira, 2002) **, 3 December 2008
Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta

Along with the even more disappointing PARTY (1996), this is the least Oliveira I've watched so far. The film is an interminable two-and-a-quarter hours talk-fest of a family saga in modern-day Portugal; while featuring a couple of fine performances by its lovely leading ladies (Leonors Baldaque and the ubiquitous Leonor Silveira), the narrative is never as gripping (or even engaging) as its makers seem to think. Incidentally, it has a deliberately stilted (read: archaic) feel to it redolent of the final works of various master film-makers – such as Carl Theodor Dreyer's GERTRUD (1964), Robert Bresson's L'ARGENT (1983) and even Stanley Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT (1999); the irony is that Oliveira, 94 at the time of filming this, is still at it six years later and, on the contrary to THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, those above-mentioned films had all been remarkable movies!

Anyhow, the narrative involves Baldaque, member of an impoverished family, being married off to a crippled boy of aristocratic lineage; their relationship is troubled, however, due to her being pursued by the husband's best friend but, even more so, by the boy's own affair with his friend's female associate (Silveira) – owner of a chain of brothels! The girls are effectively played up as opposites – with Baldaque the saint and Silveira (clearly) the sinner; for obvious reasons, they don't get along…though, at one point, there's a surprising suggestion of Silveira being a lesbian given her (ufortunately for the viewer but not unexpected in this company) unfulfilled longing for her rival! Similarly, the final scene sees Baldaque bafflingly rejecting a lawyer/admirer's claims of her being a good girl!

By far, the film's most incongruous moments are those set inside Silveira's discotheque – especially the one in which a group of masked revelers casually spill alcohol on the floor as they dance and then set fire to the place (as it happens, a deliberate attempt by the owners to claim insurance money in order to pay off a debt to their ruthless financiers!) and during which Baldaque's drunken husband perishes. Besides, the film is intermittently accompanied by a strident violin-led score which grows more annoying with the passage of time – not to mention pointless and, alternately, static and moving transition shots of the landscape which add little except length to the film.

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