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.
This story is based on the novel “Jo no mai” by Tomiko Miyao which is based on the life of painter Shōen Uemura (1875–1949), the first woman to be awarded the Order of Culture. The title refers to the masterpiece bijinga (“picture of a beautiful woman”) that Uemura painted at the age of 61. The main character, Tsuya Shimamura, is born in Kyoto as the second daughter of a tea trader who dies before her birth. Tsuya, who loves painting more than anything and is hopeless at housework, attends art school and at age 15 receives the name Shōsui (from the characters for “pine” and “green”) from her teacher. The crown prince of England purchases one of her works, propelling her to fame overnight.
Mitsuko Murakami puts the passion to balloon in the hot-air balloon Circle “Airheads”. The club gathered young people holding a variety of thoughts. But “Airheads” is disbanded not too long after. Five years later, “Murakami was in a traffic accident” starts to go around between the circle members, and for that reason the members reunite and hold again a large banquet in order to remember Murakami and the days in the Club.
Three different episodes with the common nexus of expressing how a situation that seems normal ends up in an outbreak of violence: a father, actor of renown and owner of a luxurious mansion, who fears losing his daughter to an American officer; an adulterous husband, owner of an extensive estate where he breeds fighting bulls, who feels cheated to find that his wife has also been unfaithful to him; a young American traveler across Spanish lands who decides that his trip and that of his companions should not continue.
Franco’s Spain. During the sixties, a family of peasants lived miserably in a farmhouse in Extremadura under the rule of the landowner. Their life is renunciation, sacrifice, and obedience. Their destiny is marked, unless some unforeseen event allows them to break their chains. Adaptation of the homonymous novel by Miguel Delibes.
After an attack on the Third Reich guard, the Nazi repression intensifies, and the organized sabotage of the Czechoslovak resistance in an airplane factory leads to Gestapo shootings. Now factory worker Petr Lom must make a choice: Is he prepared to sacrifice his life to save his co-workers?
A family of gnomes preparing for the wedding of their oldest son must engage in a battle of wits with an enemy family of vicious trolls.
A man’s strange obsession with dirt starts as a childhood game, but eventually manifests itself on a most surreal level. The dark humor, expressionistic images create an allegory for individuality and self-sufficiency, in this off-beat ecological parable.