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Manoel de Oliveira’s epic rendering of playwright Paul Claudel’s verse masterwork opens with a quote: “Everything happens for the glory of God, even sin.” Set during Spain’s “Golden Age,” the story then begins as Doña Prouhèze, the wife of a Spanish nobleman, falls in love with Don Rodrigo; Rodrigo is sent to be the Governor of New Spain in America, while Prouhèze becomes the ruler of Mogador in Africa. Yet despite their separation by oceans or continents, their love—of course totally forbidden, and thus impossible—continues to grow, sweeping up all those around them as well as the Spanish Empire in its wake. As always, Oliveira is a master at creating a sense of period and place from the most minimal of details, a talent well on display in a story of unrequited lovers that unfolds across several decades on four continents, the lovers’ separation only increasing the intensity of their feeling. Initially presented at the 1985 NYFF in a drastically edited version running two hours and 10 minutes, The Satin Slipper screens here at last in its full seven-hour cut. Print courtesy of the Cinemateca Portuguesa.

  • Directed By Manoel de Oliveira
  • 1985
  • France/Portugal/West Germany/Switzerland
  • 35mm
  • 410 minutes