On September 27, 1810, the French troops commanded by Marshal Massena, were defeated in the Serra do Buçaco by the Anglo-Portuguese army of general Wellington. Despite the victory, ... See full summary »
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On September 27, 1810, the French troops commanded by Marshal Massena, were defeated in the Serra do Buçaco by the Anglo-Portuguese army of general Wellington. Despite the victory, Portuguese and British are forced to retreat from the enemy, numerically superior, in order to attract them to Torres Vedras, where Wellington had built fortified lines hardly surmountable. Simultaneously, the Anglo-Portuguese command organizes the evacuation of the entire territory between the battlefield and the lines of Torres Vedras, a gigantic burned land operation, which prevents the French from collecting supplies. This is the setting for the adventures of a multitude of characters from all social backgrounds - soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, young and old - to the daily routine torn by war and dragged through hills and valleys, between ruined villages, charred forests and devastated crops.Highly persecuted by the French, already tormented by an unmerciful weather, the mass of ... Written by
In 1810 Napoleon sent Marshal Massena (who was famous then and called "the dear son of the victories" I think that by Napoleon himself) to invade Portugal for the third time (French army had been defeated there twice before). The Franch army now entered the center of the country and marched to the south with relative facility despite having been beaten at Buçaco by the Anglo-Portuguese troops who began to withdraw to the south till they reached the Lines of Torres Vedras a huge mass of fortifications built in secret by Wellington in the previous one and half year behind which they entrenched themselves always under Wellington command. The French army after being before the Lines for some time realized they were unconquerable and retreated for good. This movie is about that but who is hoping to see a historical movie may be somewhat disappointed because though the story develops itself having that war as a background it is much more about the personal adventures and misadventures of its characters not only the main ones but some minor ones too. It is very good from the technical standpoint I mean the scenes, camera movements, sequences, angles of view, framings and visual details are very good indeed. The acting is also excellent with a luxury cast with such actors like John Malkovich (as Wellington)and the Portuguese Nuno Lopes. The reproduction of the epoch atmosphere in sceneries and costumes is also excellent. The main flaw that can be appointed to this movie is that the story somehow lacks a thread, losing itself among scattered and diverse episodes although very well shown and developed. And in terms of social usages (certain love scenes for instance) and language employed there is some inadequacy to early 19th century seeming much more as belonging to our contemporary meanings and values.
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