Tribute: Manoel de Oliveira

Vale Abraão

Abraham's Valley
Manoel de Oliveira
P, FRA, CH 1993
189 min

VALE ABRAÃO is a curious ignition for worldwide cine-fame: a three-hour-plus, self-consciously literary and hyper-rehearsed study of the Madame Bovary template in which Ema, a lovely young girl from an upper-class family, subtly wields her beauty like a weapon and becomes a restless and unfaithful wife to a romantic doctor. Oliveira’s approach is kind of a Bresson/Buñuel bouillabaisse, stressing the stiff artificiality of his scenes, and the narration over the action (which describes dialogues and actions as they happen), while at the same time going for a sarcastic satire whose very flatness is part of the joke. Leonor Silveira (who like many of Oliveira’s actors appears in scores of his films, in parts large and small) has one of those amazing movie faces that seems to change from minute to minute, but her performance is held six inches away from conviction – as the narration informs us that she smiles “as if to bite them”. What we get from VALE ABRAÃO is a kind of exhaustive study of bovarysme rather than its dramatic expression. (Michael Atkinson)

Supporting film: DOURO, FAINA FLUVIAL 1931, Manoel de Oliveira, 17 Min

From the collection of the Cinemateca Portuguese and with support from the Österreichischen Filmmuseum

further screening: Nov. 14, 20:00 Filmmuseum

  • Leonor Silveira - Ema Cardeano Paiva
  • Cécile Sanz de Alba - Young Ema
  • Luís Miguel Cintra - Carlos Paiva, Ema's husband
  • Ruy de Carvalho - Paulino Cardeano, Ema's father
  • Manoel de Oliveira based on the novel by Agustina Bessa-Luís
  • Mario Barroso
  • Henri Maïkoff
  • Valérie Loiseleux
  • Manoel de Oliveira
  • Claude Debussy
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Gabriel Fauré
  • et al.
  • Maria José Branco
  • Isabel Branco
Mandragoa Filmes, Gemini Films, Light Night
Cinemateca Portuguesa
35 mm
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