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Manoel de Oliveira
Cécile Sanz de Alba,
Luís Miguel Cintra
José and Roberto are friends, and they decide to go hunting but without guns, so that no accident will happen. As they stroll and talk, one of them falls into a hole in a hidden marshland. His friend runs away, and manages to gather a number of men that were in the vicinity. They form a human chain to pull the victim out, but their affliction mounts, as they have no strategy for doing it, and they can't understand each other.Written by
This is a short film about two teenage boys who go out hunting. I would describe is as gnostic (although in the context of its time I'd mark it as a political parable). A hint of this comes early on when one of the boys looks up and after initially being blinded sees a sculpture of Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt, through a wrought iron gate. He then spots the protective griffin beneath which half squawks and half growls at him. I was reminded at that moment of Cremaster 3 (high praise indeed), where the Entered Apprentice cheats in his development by casting an ashlar (they are meant to be carved). Youth is so critical because, it's the time when you're impressionable, it's irreversibly foundation of who you are. The Griffin maybe a symbol of a vengeful sentinel who attacks people who aspire to accompany Artemis by cutting corners in the acquisition of temperament, skill, and knowledge.
After the encounter with the sculpture the boys then discuss carnivory and get into a spot of bother. The movie had an obtuse new ending added on by censors (they may as well have asked Oliveira to have a bunch of strippers do the cancan across one of the scenes). In the version I saw the tacked-on ending was flagged up.
The film is full of symbolism . For me it hints at the utopia that we could all achieve if we worked together with one another and made more of an effort at life.
A Caça was made during the period of Salazar's dictatorship. Oliveira had been arrested by the secret police and received a short jail sentence for his previous film Acto da Primavera. I think therefore that the political content of the film has been carefully couched. There's a shot where of a sailing boats where the prow of the boat has a picture of an old Portuguese monarch (his sash is blue and white, the colours of the Portuguese royal family, outmoded by 1910). The camera lingers on it very suggestively. Salazar is the latest in a line of kings? The guys in the boat and the adult community all fail the boys. Could Oliveira be pointing at a society which has let down its youth? A menacing parable film full of surrealism. Amazing what can be done on what must have basically been zero budget.
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