Manoel De Oliveira

Manoel De Oliveira

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I'm Going Home Review


Extraordinary
Released in 2002, at a time when its director was 92 years old, Manoel de Oliveira's I'm Coming Home is a masterpiece by a director whose previous works (and subsequent ones; he's made a couple films since, with another in production) can be hard to get your hands on outside of his home countries of Portugal and France. It's a shame; watching I'm Coming Home, you develop a pressing desire to sample more of de Oliveira's work. The Milestone DVD release of I'm Coming Home (with a useful commentary track by film historian Richard Peña and an interview with the director) is thus a cause for celebration all the more.

What emerges first watching I'm Coming Home is de Oliveira's extraordinary and serene cinematic style. The story is that of a successful and respected Parisian actor named Gilbert Valence (Michel Piccoli), a 76 year-old, who, in the film's opening scenes, loses his wife and daughter in an auto crash. We then take up with him a few months later as he goes about the day-to-day business of tending his orphaned grandson Serge and maintaining the routine he's reestablished in his life. When an American director (John Malkovich) casts Valence as the much, much younger Buck Mulligan in a film adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses, the forced scrutiny of his age challenges Valence's emotional equilibrium and causes him to reevaluate his mortality and recent loss.

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The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Review


Grim
Social class, prideful martyrdom, and a dollop of beautifully expansive landscape weave a tale of operatic proportions, both by plot and physically exhaustive standards, in veteran Manoel de Oliveira's latest exploration of motivation. Marrying for money instead of childhood love, Camila (Leonor Baldaque) naïvely assumes the supposed epic and selfless attributes of Joan of Arc to deal with her husband's infidelity and the consistent treatment of being irrelevant to the very people that encouraged the doomed match.

When The Uncertainty Principle isn't relishing placing Camila within the bleakly lush settings of her prison, it takes the time to humorously discuss philosophical ideas with an energy that keeps character interaction enjoyable. It can never be fully surmised if Camila's passivity is an effort at provoking guilt out of those in her environment or if she is internalizing some imagined voice emanating from the cobwebbed statue she visits frequently, so her erratic impulses are continually amusing. Also well executed is the slowly mounting, subtly-played tension between her lifelong crush Jose (Ricardo Trêpa) and apathetic husband Antonio (Ivo Canelas) for the possible fate of the woman they share.

Continue reading: The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Review

Manoel De Oliveira

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