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|Index||14 reviews in total|
José e Pilar isn't (just?) a documentary, it's a well crafted story
that no one wrote, that unfolded as the 4 years of filming passed by.
You won't just see the Nobel award winner José Saramago, his love for writing and the tremendous respect for the people he wrote for. You will see first hand and for real how two people can be so in sync, so complementary and yet so different.
And how life spins more and faster than the Earth. How some people actually do live forever. And how people sometimes take a long time to find their calling and their true love.
Corny as it may sound said by me, you'll find nothing but beauty in this film.
José & Pilar is one of the best documentaries out there, no doubt about it. The Director Miguel Gonçalves was able to put together Saramago's soul and life, comprising the importance of Pilar del Río in Saramago's world. Saramago's struggle to fight the right battles and live his life in accordance with his believes are extraordinary lessons of humanity and social sensibility. Moreover, Pilar's role in Saramago's life and her love for him are simply unique. The mixture of romance and wisdom gives the tone of the movie and it is a privilege to watch the Literature Noble Prize Winner in his intimacy, following his day by day routine, surrounded by his books, lover and, of course, the ocean... The volcanic island shoots are amazing! To sum up, the documentary is outstanding and deserves top score. I doubt anyone thinks otherwise...
I'm a José Saramago reader for about 15 years. This documentary it's just mind blowing. I saw it we my girlfriend and at the end I find myself thinking that the love between José and Pilar was a beautiful thing to see. In this documentary, you can really understand what about a relationship should really be. Fernando Meirelles did a great job showing everyone how brilliant and talented José Saramago was. I think everyone will be really touched with their love: "If I died at 63 before I meet Pilar, I would died a lot older then I am right now..." hi said. Really miss his books. "I think we are blind. Blind people who can see, but do not see" J.Saramago
It's so hard to make an engaging documentary. The usual process is to
make the facts of stories you're supposed to be told into a coherent
narrative line, even if in reality that line isn't so clear. That will
provide the audiences with a story, something to follow. But how you
follow that story is usually in a more external way than how you watch
fiction, because in documentary you can't or won't have the same
devices to fold you into the thing. You have always that trick on
reenact some stuff, if the theme is history. That's lame to me, and
Now here you have something really interesting. The film shows us countless excerpts of the lives of the 2 protagonists throughout the course of about 2 years. The film is presented as a reportage, more than a documentary, meaning that images are what you make of it, words come up apparently loosely. No bent narrative is delivered to you. Or so it seems.
Underneath this apparently random display of images, there's a subtle layered structure. The life of the couple José/Pilar in the period of the film mapped to the story of the elephant in the book Saramago is writing. The story that this film displays mapped into the larger story of Saramago's life, with all its weight in the story of literature and Portuguese culture, as we get it in between the lines in several moments of the narrative. The whole idea of journey and encounter mapped into the love story of José and Pilar.
And ultimately, as the title denounces, that story is central here. The idea of a pair of people bound by the art of one of them, who chooses to share it, allow the other half to be a part of it. Live as one, that's the beautiful part of the story. I'm glad they chose to share a bit of that story with as, by allowing us to get into it.
His art matters. He is a humanist, has profound ideas, truly powerful ideas, and changed language, invented a new way on which people can express.
There is one moment when the metaphor for journey mapped into people's lives is perfect: in Saramago's hometown, one street has his name, another street which crosses the other one has her name. Crossed paths.
My opinion: 4/5
José Saramago's figure was outstanding. One had to read his books till the end. But, most fascinating was his relationship with a more outstanding woman, Pilar del Rio. This tender documentary really shows us the ties that put them together along the years. A love story that outfits time and space. A real thing. The director shows us the daily routine of José and Pilar and the tenderness of gestures, beyond words. One understands very well what they felt for each other from the day they first met till the death of Saramago and the desire of Pilar to fulfill a true wish: to have his ashes divided in Lanzarote and Portugal, the founding of a Foundation in Lisboa, and the visits to his birthplace Azinheira do Ribatejo.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
José+Pilar Is a real scenes movie, about real love. An extreme felling,
a felling of love for the spouse and everyone else, shown during the
writing of a legacy without rest. "For the over 20 years", by José
Saramago (Nobel-laureate novelist). A man born in the middle of
nowhere, in a '20s Portugal who became a self- made man, a pure soul.
I loved to see some epic ideals expressed in video (about life and death), as well as Saramago's repeated answers to the repeated questions made by the media.
In Portugal, the movie ran on public television in prime-time, and that was an unusual fact.
The scenes has a very interesting rhythm and music.
The Portuguese Nobel Laureate José Saramago was never an easy writer or
agreeable public figure. Moreover, his political inclinations, a
mixture of Iberism and Communism, were quite the opposite of mine. So I
must admit that I sat down to watch the documentary with some degree of
However the opening and the quality of the photography captivated me immediately and I could not stop wandering how the Director managed to make such a remarkably enjoyable documentary with such persona.
It certainly helped the fact that his young wife Pilar is such a lively and interesting person. She is the personification of the vibrant qualities we find among modern Spaniards. But what captivated me more was how she could devote herself so intensely to an elderly and sick husband.
The Director, being himself an admirer of José, did not attempt to color or capture only the rosy moments of the Portuguese writer. He gives a truthful and yet endearing image of the couple.
The secret probably lies in the way he manages to show that love knows no age barriers. Undoubtedly, this is an Oscar-winning candidate.
This is a story about love and about truth.
The honesty starts behind the camera - Miguel Gonçalves Mendes captured that truth as if he wasn't there. And therefore, he was, inside and aside. That is exactly what gives us this enormous feeling of getting to know the intimate being of one of the greatest writers of all times: Saramago and his Pilar.
There's something curious about the movie title "José and Pilar" - "pilar" (as "pillar") in Portuguese means "firm, upright, insulated support for a superstructure".
Pilar was indeed the pillar for Saramago. And so was he to her the other way around, as in great love stories must be.
It's all very easy to reduce a documentary like this to just that: a
documentary. I like to think of it as a window, nay, a door. I'm
Portuguese and, beside a theatre play my dad bought for me and made me
stand in line to have it signed by Saramago when I was a child, I never
managed to enjoy reading his books. Loved the stories, struggled with
So, it was a huge surprise when I discovered this man, playful and witty as dense and morose; when I discovered his wife, thus far a very behind-the-scenes person, very outspoken but seldom seen; and the mere thought of having heaps of footage and manage to edit years of shadowing the couple to a mere two hours, seamlessly stitched together.
I couldn't help but feel deeply moved by the episodes the film depicts, the portraits the camera takes all the way through time and the love story between a rather senior Portuguese writer and a rather younger Spanish journalist. In Portugal, we say, 'love knows no age.' It does, actually. However, it knows no time. And that's what 'José And Pilar' tells us.
I fell compelled to send a copy to all my friends who, as I, live outside Portugal. It really is that good. Watch it and make sure you take it all in.
This film, as Variety has mentioned, definitely blurs the line between
documentary and fiction -If one does not recognize the protagonists -
it could just as well be a fictional film about Love - as it should be.
The film is captivating, avoids sentimentality and becomes expansive in your mind days after viewing. Will probably have to see it various times to really capture the organic magic that Goncalves has created in Jose and Pilar.
As a side note, it is curious to note that Saramago not only wrote the Elephant's Journey during this film but 2 more stories, Cain and The Notebook after the film ...
It is a hopeful piece of film. Just beautiful.
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