Mysteries of Lisbon
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- Interview with Raul Ruiz for CineCinema
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- Segment on novelist Camilo Castelo Branco and the film
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- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Thank you GOD!
At four and half hours in length, `Mysteries of Lisbon' may be the longest film I've ever watched; but in all realities it is most likely the most rewarding. Without much background information (my friends were wise enough to keep details to a minimum) I sat back to soak in this film almost blind, only knowing that I was told I'd really, really enjoy this.
Lush, detailed, absorbing and atmospheric to perfection; `Mysteries of Lisbon' has no comparison.
A film that is on a grand scale like classic films such as `Gone With the Wind' and `The Leopard', `Mysteries of Lisbon' makes the most of its atmosphere by fleshing out its visuals with non-debatable perfection. The depth in the cinematography is outstanding. Many this year have been pimping the gorgeous frames in `The Tree of Life', but while watching `Mysteries of Lisbon' I couldn't help but be left breathless at the way each frame was perfectly staged to create such deep moods.Read more ›
It must be said, however, that this is not a movie for everyone. It is a successful adaptation of a classic novel. Complex novels typically get a short shrift in film format. I would say that the best way to treat a great novel is to see it in installments. Charles Dickens wrote most of his novels as a series of installments. The same can be said of Camilo Castelo Branco, the author of the novel this movie is based on.
This movie will appeal to lovers of world literature. If you are comfortable curling up with the "Brothers Karamazov" you will appreciate (if not like) this movie. Even the staunchest critics admit it is gorgeous to look at. But the strength of this movie is the literary work itself. Yes, it is difficult to follow which requires effort on the viewers part. And the languages are difficult to follow as well. Whereas the main narrative is in Portuguese, there is a substantial portion in French, and there is a smattering of other languages including English and Italian.
I was impressed by the facility of some of the main Portuguese actors to switch back and forth in impeccable French. It helps a lot to be able to understand all the languages in this film, a feat that most European sophisticated audiences are capable of, but with some due diligence, patience, and effort it is possible to appreciate this film following the subtitles. Dubbing this film in English would be a disaster because much of the film depends on contrasting Portuguese values with French values.
But I wouldn't recommend this film to everyone. Especially those who think of movies as fast paced action oriented entertainment. This is way beyond entertainment. It is a thought poem. It poses deep questions about life, war and peace, forbidden love and so much more.
Spread over Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil we have an orphaned boy finding his way in the world, a benign and caring priest who has more than one past, a street thug turned entrepreneur with a penchant for the ladies. A lady scorned, and a lot of running off to join monasteries and nunneries, which seems like a bit of a cop out, but was quite popular in the day so I am told. We also have an evil count, a reformed roustabout and some rubbish duels. There is so much here and it is told at a leisurely pace, which will infuriate some viewers, as we can have a whole scene where very little happens but moves the plot on at a somewhat glacial pace. However, it actually works as the pacing makes you consider what is taking place on the screen and affords you the time to fully weigh up the importance to the players of what can be seen by a modern eye as a pretty minor issue, to say more would be a bit of a spoiler.
With a cast list of to many to mention, the one actor I thought was outstanding was Father Dinis played by Adriano Luz, but there is not one bad performance. Lovers of costume or period drama will appreciate the sumptuous sets and the slavish addiction to detail, which all adds to the authenticity of the film. I actually quite enjoyed it, but watched in one sitting which was a bit much, and there are a tad too many coincidences, a bit like a Dickens plot at times, but for all that this is still a compelling and quite impressive piece of cinema.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great teaching tool for both student and teacher of Portuguese language.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
I had never heard of Ruiz before but the film was an Amazon suggestion. I am increasingly paying attention to these because they have been leading me to very interesting books and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by B. Pocker
Some interesting moments and characters, but it's nothing but a rambling soap opera. Like most soaps, the drama is frequently unsupported by credible characterization. Read morePublished 10 months ago by librich
Took awhile to catch the inference that learning what we did not know can change our opinion so thoroughly that you no longer know who you are. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Barbara St Aubrey
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