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Mysteries of Lisbon [Blu-ray]

3.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Raul Ruizas masterful adaptation of the eponymous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel (by Camilo Castelo Branco) evokes the complex intertwined narratives of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.


Based on a 19th-century novel that's usually characterized as sprawling, Mysteries of Lisbon; is a hothouse melodrama seen through a cool, discerning eye. Director Rául Ruiz has called it one of his most theoretical films, but this multicourse (41/2 -hour) feast is no self-conscious demonstration of molecular gastronomy. The storytelling is straightforward, with a classical sheen, even as mischief and hallucination puncture the serene surface. The running time should not be cause for dismay; with 100-plus films to his credit, Ruiz is nothing if not a master of tone and pacing as he moves his players through the drawing rooms, hotels, convents and monasteries of Western Europe and, briefly, Brazil, unwrapping stories within stories within stories. --August 12, 2011 | By Sheri Linden, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Special Features

- Collector's booklet including essays and photos
- Interview with Raul Ruiz for CineCinema
- Interview with screenwriter Carlos Saboga
- Roundtable discussion about the film for French television
- Segment on novelist Camilo Castelo Branco and the film
- Radio interview with Raul Ruiz on France culture
- Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Adriano Luz, Ricardo Pereira
  • Directors: Raul Ruiz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 257 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005TF23Z6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,862 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on January 27, 2012
Format: DVD
Thanks to my Spaniard friends, this epic masterpiece of a film didn't go unnoticed by me. It's truly tragic that films this glorious will most likely slip through the fingers of many Americans, simply because it has subtitles and because the distribution here in the States is merely a whisper. Honestly, if I happened to see this without the foreknowledge that it was worth watching, I may have passed it over for something more widespread. Instead, thanks to a few friends overseas, who happened to have indulged in this film months ago and have been chatting it up ever since, I scooped this up the second it was available on DVD.

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.
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Format: Blu-ray
I saw this movie based on the two disc blu-ray format. It was a pleasure to watch and was not "long" as many reviewers complain.

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.
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Format: DVD
Raul Ruiz's extraordinary MYSTERIES OF LISBON is almost certainly one of the greatest cinematic achievements of recent years, a sumptuous epic that marries old-fashioned story with decidedly contemporary storytelling. In bringing these melodramatic tales to life with such insightful visual direction (which pays homage to its forebears, films like CITIZEN KANE, THE LEOPARD and BARRY LYNDON), Ruiz unearths great depth of emotion and insight, exploring questions of sin, grace, and identity.
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Format: DVD
This is a Portuguese film from director, Raul Ruiz that is basically a series of short stories that are all held together by a web of connections that some could see as contrived, but actually works, that is if you can stay with it. The reason I say that is this is in two parts and actually lasts 266 minutes long that is 4 and a half hours in old money and is on two discs, so does require commitment.

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.
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