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A Talking Picture

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In July of 2001, eight-year-old Maria Joana embarks on an ocean cruise from her native Portugal to Bombay, India accompanied by her mother, history professor Rosa Maria (Leonor Silveira.) But as three mysterious and glamorous women, each played by a world-renowned film legend, board first at Marseilles (Catherine Deneuve - Umbrellas Of Cherbourg), Naples (Bernardo Bertolucci muse Stefania Sandrelli) and Athens (Irene Papas - The Trojan Women, Antigone), their picturesque journey begins to grow in tension and complexity. When ship captain John Walesa (John Malkovich - Being John Malkovich) hosts a unique summit between these three international graces, the table is literally set to transform A Talking Picture from a genial melancholic history lesson into an incendiary contemporary news flash.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Leonor Silveira, Filipa de Almeida, John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, Stefania Sandrelli
  • Directors: Manoel de Oliveira
  • Writers: Manoel de Oliveira
  • Producers: Diloy Gülün, Paulo Branco
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: April 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007LFPT8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,199 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Talking Picture" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2005
Format: DVD
Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira at age 96 concocted this strange little film that suggests and artist/philosopher glance over his shoulder about all of civilization and the development of culture and language and then a rather ominous look toward the future. Part travelogue and part captured conversations this film may not be for the movie going public as much as for those who yearn to expand their cultural horizons. It may wander around and lose focus, but it is such an elegant little journey that it bears watching repeatedly.

The time is July 2001. Rosa Maria (Leonor Silveira) is a history professor in Lisbon and takes her young daughter Maria Joana (Felipe de Almeida) on a Mediterranean cruise to Bombay, India where the two will meet up with her husband. They board a cruise ship and for the first hour of the film mother gives daughter a verbal history of teh ports of call. The ship stops at Marseilles (where the first strange famous lady - Catherine Deneuve - boards) and after a walk through the streets of the port, dining on bouillabaise and learning about the Greek origins of the port as an introduction to the world of Greek civilization, the two return to ship. The next stop is Naples (second strange lady - Stefania Sandrelli - boards) and the two wander Naples and journey to Pompeii to see the ancient ruins, mixing information of history and myth, the warmly rich instruction from the mother shares. Then at Athens (third strange lady - Irene Pappas - boards) and the two visit the Parthenon and the Acropolis aided by the friendly information by a Greek Orthodox priest (Nikos Hatzopoulos) who illuminates the sites as well as the differences between Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic religions and symbols.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By nom-de-nick on January 23, 2006
Format: DVD
WARNING: If you haven't seen this, be aware some other viewers have damn near spoiled the film by giving away too much. Proceed with caution.

But the film definitely has a message, and takes it's sweet time getting it across. That's OK, though; the pace is, as someone else said, as relaxing as a cruse. Granted, some things don't ring totally true, but that's OK; the film makes it point through its fundamental and total normalcy. I do think it ended a bit abruptly, however, despite the plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By technoguy on December 20, 2011
Format: DVD
This film,"A Talking Picture",is literally that,a film-travelogue of a Portuguese Professor and her daughter ,who engage in a history lesson while the two travel around the Mediterranean,the cradle of the civilization that Europe emerged from,while they visit its major landmarks on a Mediterranean cruise.The mother explains to her daughter the meanings of `myth', 'civilization', 'nature','mosque' etc. the tour stops off at Pompeii, the Acropolis, and the Pyramids. Throughout, little Maria Joana acts as blank, baffled slate, soaking in the contradictions of history. Poised to the point of stiltedness, the parent-child exchanges are strictly informational: the inquisitive girl asks leading questions ("Which Middle Ages are we in now?"), and her impassive mother disgorges reams of encyclopedic dialogue.Jean Luc Godard drew heavily on this in his latest film,Film Socialisme. This is a straightforward riff on a Mediterranean cruise as history.I could not take the mother and daughter relationship as anything but symbolical,a hook to put the film's clothing on.No mother however clever talks to her daughter in this way.Similarly later on in the film when the Captain of the ship (Malkovitch),talks with the 3 famous women at his table and they all speak in their own tongues-Greek,Italian,English and French-I did not feel any discrepancy, merely poetic license,as they all seemed to understand each other.Love,women,politics and language are the topics presided over by the effete sea-captain.Europe used to have people who spoke more than one language.There is a sense of nostalgic innocence about a timeless beauty that no longer exists.A fable.A millennial crossroads of Western Civilization explodes into a contemporary newsflash.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grigory's Girl on August 24, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am disappointed and quite annoyed that many dislike this film and other works by Manoel de Oliveira. This is a magnficient picture, one of Manoel's best, and it's really a deep, humanistic, and sad film about the current world situation and the world itself. The film is filled with beautiful shots, great dialogue, intelligence, charm, and thought provoking themes and culture, yet, most people (and many critics) intensely dislike this work. Perhaps after 2 decades of smug, aggressively cynical, "ironic", and arrogant attitudes in film and pop culture, people have suppressed their humanistic instincts, and that is the underlying reason that they cannot appreciate a film like this. It shows that people don't really change (a conclusion that this film comes to), and that we ignore history at our peril. We should be grateful that we have Manoel de Oliveira in our midst, a true treasure. He is 99 years old as of this writing (and is still making great films), and the fact that he is sharing his wisdom and sense of art with us should make us priviledged.
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