La Noche de Enfrente (2012) - News Poster

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Waiting for the Whole Sky All Diamonds

  • MUBI
The first-ever manufacturer of light bulbs in Portugal, Manoel de Oliveira’s father died in 1932, nine years after Raul Brandão wrote a play called Gebo and the Shadow. In the year 2012 Oliveira turned the play into a film, making a grimy, dim oil lamp its legitimate character: elderly accountant Gebo burns the midnight oil in it as he plods away at his books. In an early scene, meanwhile, his wife lights the lanterns outside their house with a match. No one seems yet to have heard of electricity; the time setting is unclear; presumably, it’s the turn of the century.

Presumably. Oliveira’s Benilde, or The Virgin Mother (1975) opens with a title-card of this word to gradually lure us into a province of utter chronological disorder. This very same word has ever since been unchallenged as the most accurate description of the bizarre, atemporal effect that grows stronger in each subsequent Oliveira film.
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