Demain?

The short, passionate life of Uruguyan poet Delmira Agustini is stylishly evoked in this film by Christine Laurent, longtime script collaborator of Jacques Rivette. Elegant, erotic and playful, the film contrasts its heroine’s turbulent, tormented psyche with free and graceful filmmaking to create something mysterious and wonderful as a poem. The beautiful Laure de Clermont-Tonnere (The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec) is affecting and compelling as Delmira, tortured by her own genius.

Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa)

In what many assumed would be his last film (before surgery for liver cancer saved his life), Raoul Ruiz has directed a masterful adaptation of a famous 19th-century novel by Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco. “Mysteries of Lisbon” is an elegant, exquisitely produced jewel of a film that sees Ruiz finding a renewed confidence and voice. This is a large, sprawling and vigorous tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again.

Evoking the massive novels of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, the complex story centers on the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry. Joao, the initial narrator of the film, is a precocious 14year-old desperate to discover his parentage. Living under the care of a kindly priest, Joao is first introduced to his mother, a beautiful countess married to a cad of a man who controls her fate and fortune. Gradually, the tale of how he came to be born is told to the young Joao, who is surprised to discover that this is not his real name.

This is just the beginning of a finely wrought narrative where many characters turn out to be hiding secrets, including multiple identities. As these are slowly stripped away, a series of surprising revelations comes to the fore. While the narrative is expertly told by Ruiz and screenwriter Carlos Saboga, the film’s magnificence is buoyed by refined art direction and fluid camerawork. The cinematography is both strikingly formal and highly fluid; Ruiz’s camera prowls through the elegant drawing rooms and estates of Portugal’s aristocracy, while making side trips to Spain, France and Italy, as the fascinating characters weave in and out of each other’s lives. Ruiz has made one of the best films in his illustrious career and, thankfully, he has lived to make even more. [Synopsis courtesy of Piers Handling/Toronto International Film Festival]

Arabian Nights

Every night, in danger of being beheaded, Scheherazade tells King Shahryar unfinished tales to continue them the following night, hence defying his promise of murdering his new wives after their wedding night.
Scheherazade tells king Shahryar her stories but these are not those in the book. These are stories based on whatever will be happening in Portugal during the production time of the film. As in the book, these stories will be tragic and comical, with rich and poor, powerless and powerful people, filled with surprising and extraordinary events. This film will be about the reality of a disgraced country, Portugal, under the effects of a global economic crisis.

Os Maias – Cenas da Vida Romântica

The tragedy and comedy in Carlo’s life begins, grows and ends like the tragedy and comedy of Portugal. In the company of his close friend, Joao da Ega, allegedly a brilliant writer, Carlos, with his idle existence as an aristocratic doctor, spends his time to enjoying friends and lovers. Until he falls in love. She is a new character in this revolutionary novel. It’s a vertiginous passion that goes beyond that past gloominess to reach a new and darker abyss, incest.