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The Strange Case of Angelica [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The new film from master filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, The Strange Case of Angelica is a magical tale of a young photographer who falls madly in love with a woman he can never have, except in his dreams. Late one night, Isaac is summoned by a wealthy family to take the last photograph of a young bride, Angelica, who mysteriously passed away. Arriving at their estate, Isaac is struck by Angelica s beauty. But when he looks through his lens, the young woman appears to come to life. From that moment, Isaac will be haunted by Angelica day and night.

THIS SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY includes the first film by Manoel de Oliveira, the rarely-screened 1931 silent masterwork Douro, Faina Fluvial, presented in a new 2K restoration.

- Douro, Faina Fluvial (Labor on the Douro River) (1931, 20 minutes), the first film from Manoel de Oliveira, in new 2k restoration
- Audio Commentary by film critic and curator James Quandt
- Oliveira L Architecte (1992, 63 minutes), a documentary by Paulo Rocha
- Absoluto (2010, 35 minutes), a onversation with Manoel de Oliveira during the filming of The Strange Case of Angelica
- Theatrical Trailer
- Booklet featuring "Late Oliveira," an essay by Haden Guest, Director of the Harvard Film Archive


"A magical masterpiece." --Kevin Thomas, LA Times

"A gift from a filmmaker who, at 101 years old, is nearly as old as cinema itself." --Manohla Dargis

"The best film of 2010. A sublimely autumnal comic masterpiece." --J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Ricardo Trepa, Leonor Silveira, Luis Miguel Cintra, Isabel Ruth
  • Directors: Manoel de Oliveira
  • Producers: Manoel de Oliveira, Luis Minarro, François d'Artemare, Renata de Almeida, Maria João Mayer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004ULZ604
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 23, 2012
Format: DVD
I happened to see director Manoel de Oliveira's 2009 "Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl" last year, and now comes the legendary movie-maker's next movie.

"The Strange Case of Angelica" (originally released in Portugal in 2010; 107 min.) brings another slice of magic-realism from de Oliveira. Set in the Porto region, the movie brings the curious tale of Isaac, a Jewish-Portuguese photographer who is called in the middle of the night to photograph the just-deceased Angelica, a young woman who had just married. When taking pictures, Angelica strangely comes to life again through the camera lense. As Isaac later develops the pictures he has taken, Angelica comes to life again, and subsequelty also into his dreams, which seem real-life like to him. But is it a good dream or a nightmare? Separately, Isaac has a strong interest in taking pictures of the laborers working the farm fields in the area. How it all plays out (and how both those story lines are intertwined), I will leave up to you to discover. The movie moves at snail's pace, and that's meant as a compliment.

Just a reminder: Manoel de Oliveira was a crisp 101 years old when he wrote and directed this movie. Wow, just wow. But wait! There is more! This DVD comes with a bunch of extras, none more so than his very first movie, a 20 min. documentary made in 1931 called "Douro, Faina Fluvial", documenting the life and times of people working in and around the Douro river in Porto, yes the very same setting of this "Angelica" movie, now 80 years later! There is also an incredible interview with the director, made in March, 2010 when he was in the final editing process of the movie. Listen to him commenting on "Avatar", violence in movies for violence sake, John Ford, and many other juicy comments. What a great DVD all around, and not just for the intruiging "Angelica" movie. Not for anyone in a hurry, but highly recommended!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This would be a better title, as the film is primarily about an introverted photographer who becomes emotionally unstable after photographing a deceased married woman at the request of her family. The film only features "Angelica" for very short moments, and as others have pointed out, it is a very slow paced film with plenty of extra dialogue and lingering shots that do not necessarily add anything to the film. de Oliveira's Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl was under 70 minutes, and I feel this film could have benefitted from a shorter run time. Nonetheless, I found it a good character study of a man who turns his back on people in a crowded room, chooses to shoot with an old film camera in the digital photography age, and is interested in taking pictures of the few manual laborers still working the hillside of the Portuguese city of Porto. It is more a psychological film rather than the fantasy one the trailer makes it out to be. This becomes an overall sad tale of a man who appears to be so lonely, that he has to resort to fantasizing over someone he'll never have apart from viewing her in his photos. The cinematography has some nice touches (like the interior scene with the orange goldfish) and features a mostly bland color palette, with Isaac wearing very conservative black and white clothing throughout, and several older characters who do not wear the latest fashions. If it weren't for the children wearing backpacks in the trailer, you would think the film was set in the 1950's, but it is a contemporary Portuguese setting.
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Format: Blu-ray
Patrick Rogers, DVD Verdict --The Strange Case of Angelica has a style similar to a 1930s black and white picture. It's very set oriented with a minimalist and continuous camera technique intent on portraying realism instead of style. And yet realism slowly gives way to expressionism, much in the same way as a film by Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc). It's also a film set in the 1950s, but with more than a few anachronisms. This tendency helps to infuse the film with its fairy-tale sensibilities. The director is blending the lines between past, present, and future. To further this feeling is a beautifully refined mise en scène that feels believable and lived in with how the characters move and interact within its confines. The color palette is dominated by vibrant and whimsical blues and greens to capture the playful nature of the narrative and its characters, while also reveling in darker stone hued greys and slates for the more somber aspect of this tale of death and vitality counterpoised.

Many people will not like The Strange Case of Angelica. They'll find it boring or pointless, if not bordering on indulgent, in the way the film takes its time to make a point...any point. And yet this isn't a film that should be a massive crowd pleaser. For people looking to see something unique, or to see a slightly offbeat love story instead of the more generic fodder we're all exposed to, then you might just find a little something to like here. Most importantly, Cinema Guild has released a splendid Blu-ray in order to make the film that much easier to digest and to appreciate.

The AVC/MPEG-4 1.85:1/1080p transfer is detailed though flawed.
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