Oliveira’s fourth feature, adapted from a play by his close friend José Régio, was one of his major breakthroughs as a filmmaker: a fable about a deeply sheltered young woman who tells her wealthy, religious parents that she’s been impregnated in the wake of an angelic visitation. It’s possible to take Benilde, or the Virgin Mother as a scathing denouncement of religious hypocrisy, a veiled response to the abuses of the Salazar regime, or a set of obsessive, carefully staged formal exercises—or some combination of the three.
Director: Manoel de Oliveira. AKA Benilde or the Virgin Mother.
Writers: José Régio (play), Manoel de Oliveira (adaptation).
Stars: Maria Amélia Matta, Jorge Rolla, Varela Silva, Glória de Matos, Maria Barroso, Augusto de Figueiredo, Jacinto Ramos.