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.
A phantasmagoric, definition-defying film from perhaps France’s premier underground filmmaker, Treasure of the Bitch Islands begins with the mysterious disappearance of an engineer who has discovered a new energy source, and follows a post-nuclear Ulysses’ voyage to find the substances used in the engineer’s formula, only to be harvested on an island of mad scientists and headhunters.
This film depicts the life of the 19th-century Portuguese writer Wenceslau De Moraes by means of nine ancient ballads from China. The writer married a Chinese woman after he left his wife and family to go live in Macao. Later, he moved to Japan where he fell in love with a Japanese woman, staying in Japan for the rest of his life. Mixed in with the career and loves of Moraes is the history of Portugal at home and in its colonies.
A Swiss sailor jumps ship in Lisbon, tired of the noisy engine room, the ship. He rents a room and does little. He writes letters to his lover, describing the whiteness of the city, the solitude and the silence. He sends his love and emptiness; she replies with love and confusion.
A couple is pursued by the police and citizens of a city for the crime of having invented love. In every corner of the city, on the walls of the bars, on the doors of public buildings, in the windows of the bus, even that wall ruined through radio ads and detergents in the small shop window, where no one enters the lobby of the railway station which was the home of our hope of escape, a poster denounces our love.
An anthology film drama featuring a poetic mirror structure based on existential identity. In “The Immortals,” adapted from a Helder Prista Monteiro play, two famous doctors, an 80-year-old father, and his 60-year-old son, contemplate senility and death. “Suzy,” from an Antonio Patricio story, is set in the ’30s when a young courtesan dies on the operating table. “Mother of the River” is from an Agustina Bessa-Luis fable about eternal life.
Ema is a sweet and innocent girl who is so beautiful she turns the head of every man she passes. Her life takes a despairing turn for the worse when her father forces her into a passionless marriage to his friend, a wealthy doctor. To make matters worse, she is relocated to the scenic but unfamiliar and isolated vineyards of Abraham’s Valley, Portugal where the breathtaking river Douro flows. Trapped in a marriage to a man she does not love, she scorns her husband and threatens to kill herself rather than submit to his desires.
A surreal odyssey in which a melancholic maidservant crosses paths with a homicidal little boy, travels to a tiny island of pirates and encounters a man with multiple personalities.