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Gebo et l'ombre (2012)
A masterpiece searching for redemption and life purpose
My job at reviewing has to do with music and I've never reviewed a film here at IMDb, but I must say something about "O Gebo e a Sombra", a.k.a. "Gebo et l'Ombre", because there's not a single review launched till this date.
At first I was really skeptical... One room and just dialogs, it must have a great script and the story must get you. And you know what? It worked that way. Michael Londsdale is ravishing as always. So sweet and calm, I saw him as the center of the story even if they were always talking about his son, João. He's the keystone of the family: always comforting his daughter-in-law and keeping his wife away from the truth. He's old, but still working for the family. An unique actor and very well chosen for this role, I can't see anybody else doing it.
The dialogs are always calm, slowly paced and with a heavy load of discerning life itself. It's not philosophical at all, but simple and everybody can understand what they are discussing about life. About that matter, I'm able to separate and insert the characters in different perspectives: Gebo (Michael Londsdale) is the expert in life matters, always caring about everything; Sofia (Leonor Silveira) is Gebo's confident and betrayed by happiness; Doroteia (Claudia Cardinale) is the naive old lady who's kept away from the truth and keeps dreaming about the innocence of the world, but always trying to find guilty ones; João (Ricardo Trêpa) is the disgrace who disgraced the family.
Talking about Ricardo Trêpa, we always knew why he's still acting in Manoel de Oliveira's films - he's Oliveira's grandson. I don't think he's a bad actor, but he isn't good enough to perform a strong role. I would choose Marco d'Almeida or Ivo Canelas to be the character.
About directing, it's the typical Portuguese way of doing films: static cameras and gloomy environments with a lot of dialog and little action which have the tendency to keep away Portuguese people from Portuguese cinema, but I don't forget about the weak support the Portuguese cinema gets from authorities. The Portuguese cinema directors are always very contemplative and searching for an enlightenment, but sadly Hollywood invades everything because it's an easier kind of cinema - nowadays, the less we think the better we live, or at least a lot act that way.