Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

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Barmy
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 3:59 pm

#76 Post by Barmy » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:45 pm

Yes, boring, difficult films are by definition "better" than interesting, entertaining films.

Virtually every major auteur is less boring than MO.

P.S. Angelopoulos makes films with stunning cinematography, awesome shot sequences, and fascinating, complex plotlines (i.e. things actually HAPPEN). And he's never put Malkovich in any of his films (yet).

ptmd
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#77 Post by ptmd » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:05 pm

Barmy wrote:Yes, boring, difficult films are by definition "better" than interesting, entertaining films.
I'm not saying that, but one of the things that makes Manoel de Oliveira great, in my estimation anyways, is his rigorously modernist treatment of film form, which allows him to push cinema into entirely new areas and which does make his films "boring" if judged by the standards of normal commercial cinema. This is particularly evident in the great films he made between Doomed Love (1978) and Mon Cas (1986), which is certainly his strongest period (I love much of the later work too, of course). I agree that many major auteurs make films that are more conventionally entertaining than Manoel de Oliveira, but because his films are so dense with intellectual activity they've never felt dry or uninteresting to me.

And while I agree with everything you've said about Angelopoulos, he has made films with Harvey Keitel and I know many Greek people who can't stand his films for the reasons I mentioned above.

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Barmy
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#78 Post by Barmy » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:09 pm

You're certainly right to bring up Harvey Keitel. One of the most narcissistic, selfish, movie-ruining actors ever.

I have no problems with MO, but I also have trouble criticizing MO haters.

Based on what I've seen, his 1970s/80s period is superior to the more recent films. Among other things, although stagey, they seem much more engaged in the sensuality of cinema than the drier, later films.

Miguel M Santos
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#79 Post by Miguel M Santos » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:44 pm

ptmd wrote:
Curious, is Oliveira really disliked in Portugal? If so, why?
Probably for the same reason Angelopoulos is disliked in Greece, for making "boring," difficult, even eccentric films that violate the standards of both the local industry and Hollywood and place unusual demands upon the viewer. Of course, his best films reward that sort of effort and that's precisely why he's a great director (that and his stubborn determination to make his films the way he wants to).
That's one way of seeing it. Part of the critics love him and he's an institution. He's going to have a stamp. But his films are extremely personal, and if you happen not to like them or do not have the taste/patience/whatever to go through with them, then they don't work for you. His films do show often enough on TV. From top of my head I have tried "Non, ou a vã glória de mandar", "O Convento" e "Vale Abrãao". The trailers are often enough to put someone off (the one for "Party" is still in my memory). And it doesn't help that half of his choice of actors can't act (subtitles can mask performances): both Leonor Silveira and his grandson are awful.

The best Oliveira related film for me? A 1933 comedy called "A Canção de Lisboa" which has nothing to do with him except that he acts in it (the only time he did it)

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John Cope
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#80 Post by John Cope » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:19 pm

Miguel M Santos wrote:And it doesn't help that half of his choice of actors can't act (subtitles can mask performances): both Leonor Silveira and his grandson are awful.
Or, perhaps, their performance model is simply atypical. For me, these two are amongst the finest in his company as they seem to totally get what he is going for (observe Leonor's precisely attuned work in A Talking Picture) and abet him in his efforts. Only Luis Miguel Cintra bests them. Interestingly, on IMDB there is a comment from a Portuguese viewer of Palavra e Utopia who bashes Cintra for being an "oratorian" and Ricardo Trepa for being "unexpressive and boring". Oh well. Of course this same viewer condemns Oliveira for being "incapable of starting or ending a scene without someone opening or closing a door". LOL.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that I'm in love with Silveira. BTW, maybe you could enlighten me a bit here Miguel, it doesn't seem that she appears in much else beyond Oliveira's work. Now I know that you probably think this is for good reason but I wondered if she has, in fact, turned up in much else. Certainly nothing that has received the same level of exposure as the MO films.

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Kinsayder
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#81 Post by Kinsayder » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:06 pm

The four parts of Le Soulier de satin can be downloaded (legally!) from the INA (Institut national de l’Audiovisuel) website: 1 2 3 4

They are in DRM-protected DivX format (6 Euros each for purchase or 2 Euros for rental) with a free 10-minute preview.

On the same site, a 37-minute radio interview with Oliveira (in French).

Miguel M Santos
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#82 Post by Miguel M Santos » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:30 am

John Cope wrote:
Miguel M Santos wrote:And it doesn't help that half of his choice of actors can't act (subtitles can mask performances): both Leonor Silveira and his grandson are awful.
Or, perhaps, their performance model is simply atypical. For me, these two are amongst the finest in his company as they seem to totally get what he is going for (observe Leonor's precisely attuned work in A Talking Picture) and abet him in his efforts. Only Luis Miguel Cintra bests them. Interestingly, on IMDB there is a comment from a Portuguese viewer of Palavra e Utopia who bashes Cintra for being an "oratorian" and Ricardo Trepa for being "unexpressive and boring". Oh well. Of course this same viewer condemns Oliveira for being "incapable of starting or ending a scene without someone opening or closing a door". LOL.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that I'm in love with Silveira. BTW, maybe you could enlighten me a bit here Miguel, it doesn't seem that she appears in much else beyond Oliveira's work. Now I know that you probably think this is for good reason but I wondered if she has, in fact, turned up in much else. Certainly nothing that has received the same level of exposure as the MO films.
John, She was in a film in the mid-nineties called "Porto Santo" from another director. It was done after "Vale Abraão" - of her non Oliveira films this was the one that had the biggest press coverage (helped by the fact that the director had press links, being a former newspaper director). No non Oliveira DVD releases, I'm afraid. I'm talking from memory, and please consider this as a fifteen year old recollection rather than fact, but in the mid-nineties I seem to recall that she said in an interview she didn't consider herself as a professional actress, and the fact she acted had a lot to do with Oliveira.

Ricardo Trepa (the grandson) is a pain to watch. I've seen a couple his scenes in soap operas (the furthest you can get from Oliveira's world, you'd agree), and he is just appalling. Not helped by the fact that he can't mask (if required by the part) is very strong northern accent... In the "O quinto império" he plays the king - i don't know what he sounded like, but I doubt it was like what I heard in the trailer.

Luís Miguel Cintra is a highly regarded film and theatre actor/director. I haven't seen him on stage, and his film work usually is things I would avoid like the plague (Oliveira, Monteiro, etc.).

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John Cope
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#83 Post by John Cope » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:04 pm

An excellent write up by Michael Atkinson. I think he partially misses the point, though, on Rite of Spring. He says that
It’s one of the best films about Christ, because it’s about devotion — its beauties and idiocies — on every level, and it reflects on the dramatic impulse behind religious feeling to boot.
but doesn't note the way in which Oliveira's presentational style contributes an additional level of discourse. In short, placing the theatrical nature of this Passion Play in the foreground allows him to present us with an implicit question as to how rote these performances actually are, how staged or artificial, and whether or not that kind of intellectual disconnect ultimately matters much or makes any definitive difference. This question (and many others he asks consistently) is addressed more thoroughly in Le soulier de satin. Rite of Spring also has one of the most jarring, dramatic endings to all of Oliveira's cinema, echoed later by the final moments of A Talking Picture.

ptmd
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#84 Post by ptmd » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:31 am

Having just seen proper prints of Doomed Love and Francisca in the last 48 hours, I just want to reiterate again that, if these come by a theater in your area, you really should make every effort to go. Neither of these films has played in the US on film for the past 20 years, but they are almost certainly Manoel de Oliveira's greatest films (I have yet to see The Satin Slipper, but my suspicion is that it's in the same league) and they benefit enormously from theatrical viewing.

Since it's a Paulo Branco-produced, Madragoa/Gemini Films-owned title, Francisca may well make it on to an English-friendly DVD at some point, but I'm doubtful about Doomed Love (especially because the only English-subtitled prints apparently come from archival sources). To be honest, I find it hard to believe that Doomed Love was made for television, particularly because Oliveira exploits the low-light textural possibilities of 16mm film stock to such an extraordinary degree that certain scenes, like a pivotal 20-minute nighttime sequence early in the film, virtually wouldn't register on a TV. While it is less evident in his recent work, both of these films make it clear that Oliveira is one of the great masters of cinematic color and the effects he achieves through subtle shifts in lighting are breathtaking.

mikebowes
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#85 Post by mikebowes » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:23 am

Doomed Love is playing at the Harvard Film Archive Saturday March 22 at 6pm. I saw it when it played there approx. 5 years ago. There were only 8 people in the theater watching the film (including Chantal Akerman who was teaching at Harvard at the time).

Monumental film which I'm thrilled to see again and suggest that everyone in the Boston area make it.

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Barmy
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 3:59 pm

#86 Post by Barmy » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:27 pm

Agreed on Francisca and Doomed. WAY better than most of his recent work. Francisca is the best film of his that I have seen. Doomed Love was excellent, but its subject matter and plot have been done to, erm, death.

Not sure how these would work on DVD, as they are all about intensity, imagery, etc. In particular there is no way I would sit through 4.5 hours of Doomed Love on the tube.

The series is not exactly attracting massive crowds, but at least more than 8 people are going.

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John Cope
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#87 Post by John Cope » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:17 pm

The always reliable Michael Anderson has a piece up now on Francisca.

Oh, and here's Zach Campbell on Amor de Perdição.

Stefan Andersson
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#88 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:13 am

Update: Lusomundo informs me they expect to release ESPELHO MAGICO, O QUINTO IMPERIO and BELLE TOUJOURS in September.

Stefan Andersson
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#89 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:00 am

update: a link to a brand new Oliveira interview.

He makes clear that SINGULARITIES OF A BLONDE GIRL (from de Queiroz) and THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (from his own story) are two separate projects, not the same, as I guessed in an earlier post.

Miguel M Santos
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#90 Post by Miguel M Santos » Sat May 03, 2008 7:45 pm

Will be going to Lisbon in the second fortnight of May - does anyone need any info that I might be able to get from asking/looking at the DVDs in shops?

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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#91 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Sun May 04, 2008 5:57 pm

Will be going to Lisbon in the second fortnight of May - does anyone need any info that I might be able to get from asking/looking at the DVDs in shops?
I am currently coming to the end of my long weekend in Lisbon and my general advice would be: don´t bother! As far as I can tell, as a general rule the English friendly Portuguese DVDs of de Oliveira and Pedro Costa and Monteiro are all available (on and off) in France at generally speaking cheaper prices... The only place that stocks these that I have come across is FNAC (off Rua Garret) and they -in the main- go for 17.50 Euro each. The other large DVD shop I tried called Worten (in Oriente) "do not stock Portuguese DVDs" at all! :lol:

Unless you are a big Monteiro fan (his films seem to be particularly scarce on ebay.fr, alapage etc) in which case you can find a good number of his films then I would advise waiting for them to become available from French etailers.

ptmd
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:12 pm

#92 Post by ptmd » Sun May 04, 2008 8:51 pm

As far as I can tell, as a general rule the English friendly Portuguese DVDs of de Oliveira and Pedro Costa and Monteiro are all available (on and off) in France at generally speaking cheaper prices...
Actually, this is something I've been wondering about. Are the French Manoel de Oliveira DVDs put out by Gemini identical to the ones put out in Portugal, just with different covers (i.e., do they also have English subtitles)? Alapage and amazon.fr don't list English subtitles for any of them, but it would obviously be much easier to buy from them than from Portuguese retailers so if they are subtitled, that would be good to know.

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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#93 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Mon May 05, 2008 10:05 am

Well, I am not an expert on this and this has -to an extent- been covered earlier on in this thread. As far as de Oliveira is concerned there is very little available, see for yourself by visiting www.fnac.pt.

The only de Oliveira DVD I bought was 'Non', ou A Vã Glória de Mandar because I am pretty sure the French DVD does not have English subs. Other than this I saw a copy of O Princípio da Incerteza which can be picked up for much less than the 17.50 Euro FNAC are charging (I think I bought a Belgian or Dutch version from ebay for about 8 Euro incl. p&p)... Basically, it´s a case of (sporadic) supply and demand.

If you are a Monteiro fan then they have Paths, Gods Comedy, The Hips of JW, The Last Dive, and Come & Go available...off head these cost 17.50 Euro and are generally subbed in Engl, It, Spa and French.

Miguel M Santos
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#94 Post by Miguel M Santos » Tue May 06, 2008 6:28 pm

Don Lope de Aguirre wrote: I am currently coming to the end of my long weekend in Lisbon and my general advice would be: don´t bother! As far as I can tell, as a general rule the English friendly Portuguese DVDs of de Oliveira and Pedro Costa and Monteiro are all available (on and off) in France at generally speaking cheaper prices... The only place that stocks these that I have come across is FNAC (off Rua Garret) and they -in the main- go for 17.50 Euro each. The other large DVD shop I tried called Worten (in Oriente) "do not stock Portuguese DVDs" at all! :lol:
I was just trying to be friendly...

But Worten isn't particularly brilliant, and definitely not that one (the one in another shopping centre is much better). But yes, if you want a DVD in Portugal you go to FNAC. (Although as I pointed out earlier I wouldn't recommend any portuguese film made after 1960 to anyone...)

That's why they are huge and still growing there. Importing DVDs can be a nightmare (there are several etailers who won't send stuff to Portugal) and the portuguese online shops are far ideally. Fortunately I live in London...

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Barmy
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Re: Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

#95 Post by Barmy » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:54 pm

Oliveira concedes that the only reason anyone knows who he is is that he is old.

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Rufus T. Firefly
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Re: Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

#96 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:45 pm

Well, he is 100 today (it's Dec 11 here) so he must be old. So is Elliott Carter, who is also 100 today. That is, they will be 100, unless they pop off while the sun moves around the planet intelligent design-style.

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ola t
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Re: Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

#97 Post by ola t » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:34 am

Is his birthday December 11 or 12? IMDB says 11, Yahoo says 12, and Wikipedia says both!


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John Cope
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Re: Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

#99 Post by John Cope » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:23 pm

Stefan Andersson and I have been trying to hammer down details about this new set for awhile now. We've both contacted Lusomundo and received more or less the same confirmations, so that's good. Most importantly, the set is English subbed for 19 of the 21 feature films it contains. For whatever bizarre reason, Belle Toujours and Espelho Mágico are apparently un-subbed (at least in English), but at least those two are available elsewhere. All the exclusive releases are, in fact, fully subbed. I do not, however, know whether that extends to the extras on each disc. There is a separate extras disc with more general documentary and interview features, none of which are English subbed unfortunately. And there is also an accompanying 100+ page book in Portuguese.

I've also been attempting to work something out through DeeVeeDaa DVD in the States to stock the set as the shipping through FNAC is, of course, a killer. DeeVeeDaa has informed me that they will stock this item as soon as they receive confirmation on the subs through their contact at Lusomundo.

Wittsdream
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Re: Manoel de Oliveira on DVD

#100 Post by Wittsdream » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:08 am

John Cope wrote:Stefan Andersson and I have been trying to hammer down details about this new set for awhile now. We've both contacted Lusomundo and received more or less the same confirmations, so that's good. Most importantly, the set is English subbed for 19 of the 21 feature films it contains. For whatever bizarre reason, Belle Toujours and Espelho Mágico are apparently un-subbed (at least in English), but at least those two are available elsewhere. All the exclusive releases are, in fact, fully subbed. I do not, however, know whether that extends to the extras on each disc. There is a separate extras disc with more general documentary and interview features, none of which are English subbed unfortunately. And there is also an accompanying 100+ page book in Portuguese.

I've also been attempting to work something out through DeeVeeDaa DVD in the States to stock the set as the shipping through FNAC is, of course, a killer. DeeVeeDaa has informed me that they will stock this item as soon as they receive confirmation on the subs through their contact at Lusomundo.
Well, if subtitled in English, this massive set is outstanding news, though I just ordered the 8 disc box from Spain that contains Francisca, subtitled only in Spanish ](*,) ! Please keep us informed of this development here on the forum, and definitely tell DeeVeeDaa to order enough of these for us stateside (I've actually used them before on Amazon Marketplace with good success).

Incidentally, can you confirm that the stand-alone edition of Francisca available via FNAC in France contains English subtitles? The link certainly states that it does, but you never know!

Thanks for the news!

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