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Credited cast:
David Almeida
Nicolau Breyner
Philippe Dehesdin
Joe Ferreira
Ray Hammond
Pedro Lima
Marta Marinho
Bernard Musson
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Drama | History

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October 2006 (Portugal)  »

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A whimsical journey to Alentejo (Portugal)
7 March 2016 | by (Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

Very recently we visited Evora and Monsaraz (Portugal). The latter is a tiny walled town on top of a hill that's very magical and dates from before the XVIIth Century. Browsing through a beautiful shop, I came across a copy of "The Botanist" ("O Botanico no Alentejo" in Portuguese). The author/director is the husband of the shop-owner. Intrigued by the DVD, I bought a copy and just screened it last night.

It's a short (maybe 40 minutes) very whimsical film. A couple of street musicians (one very tall, the other very short) stumble unto a magical paperback that gives them a sort of passageway to the magic of "Alentejo" (literally: past the "Tajo" river), a beautiful and not very populated part of beautiful Portugal.

At first just short glimpses into this beautiful region, with a bit of mystery thrown in for effect. Flowers, landscapes, aromas (one can almost smell the flowers).

The musicians suddenly are visiting this magical place (which really *is* magical).

The film is very simple, with quite a bit of simple comedy. No dialogs, so it really is a silent film with plenty of ambiance.

Monsaraz has that magical quality that pervades the film. In fact both when we entered the town and left it, a very very strong wind met us at the gates of the town. Almost frightening. But it was just a greeting to see the "Alentejo". The film will also give you a loving glimpse into this part of Portugal...

An experimental work, with much to recommend.

Enjoyed it very much.

One hopes that Francis Manceau will surprise us with another film...


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