Much of writer/director Catarina Vasconcelos' family history has been lost or forgotten prompting her to fill in the blanks with this beautiful contemplation on love and mortality that covers three generations. Her grandparents, Henriqué and Beatriz, were very much devoted to one another but since he was a sailor their marriage existed largely of passionate letters, B&W photographs, and the occasional shore leave which led to six children, all of whom eventually begat their own families. With highly formalized tableaux-some shimmering and ethereal, others as common as a kitchen sink-drifting across the screen like a succession of dim memories, and a voiceover narrative reading private correspondence as if it were purest poetry, Vasconcelos' celebration of family ties and the mothers who bind them can't help but touch a chord in anyone with a beating heart.
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