PRINT November 2004


Manoel de Oliveira

THE TENDER, NOSTALGIC QUALITY of Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira’s recent films I’m Going Home and Oporto of My Childhood suggests that he has succumbed to the serenity expected of the artist in old age—a senescent “late style” of harmony and reconciliation, as Edward Said described it in one of his last essays. Now in his mid-nineties and as prolific as ever, Oliveira has for decades maintained his august reputation with a series of often cryptic and demanding works. Where much Portuguese cinema tends toward reticence and melancholy, toward the sad, soulful qualities of fado and saudade, Oliveira’s is brashly theatrical and garrulous. Blithely unmindful of his audience’s learning and patience, Oliveira is prone to arcana, anachronism, and protraction. Novices drawn by a starry cast to the brilliant, troubling A Talking Picture (which opens in New York next month) may find themselves

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