An underrated, obscure gem from Manoel de Oliveira...
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 06/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Manoel de Oliveira's most obscure films (and many would say that de Oliveira is obscure himself), but it's really quite good and it falls well in the Manoel de Oliveira universe. I didn't really care for it the first time I saw it, but subsequent viewings of it have made me change my mind. It seems like a simple film on the surface, but it's really quite complex and fascinating, like all of de Oliveira's films. This creates an incredible tension between the characters where one feels that violence can break out at any time, but it never does. It's masterful filmmaking from one of the greatest directors working today.
The film is about two couples, and their power struggles. There are only two scenes. The first one takes place at a dinner party on the Portuguese coast where there's a power struggle between Michel Piccoli, Irene Papas, Leonor Silveira, and Rogerio Samora. After a storm cancels out the dinner party, the film jumps several years to a castle, where the dialogues and the struggles between the couples begin anew. The 2nd half of the film is much more startling than the first, as de Oliveira's framing, lighting, and amazingly subtle rhythms really take hold of the film. The 2nd half is reminiscent of The Convent, where the scenes are very dark, yet, they are illuminated just enough that you can see everything that is going on.
Anyone interested in de Oliveira's work should seek this film out. It's one of his most underrated."
Minor but enjoyable Oliveira
Andres C. Salama | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 01/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A minor but enjoyable movie by the almost centenary Portuguese director. The movie starts with a beautiful shot of the waves breaking at the rocks of some cliff in the Portuguese coast. The film is basically about two couples, a young one and an old one (the lovely - and Oliveira regular - Leonor Silveira, Rogerio Samora, Michel Piccoli and Irene Papas) in two extended sequences. The first sequence happens in a garden party of some sort by the sea that is interrupted by a storm, the other happens some time later in a castle. The second sequence shows an argument of some sort between the couples, involving an incident that happened in the first sequence. This is a talky movie, but more than the particular dialogues what one remembers about it is the slow but beautiful cinematic rhythm of Oliveira."