Sunday, October 4, 2015
The late, great Manoel de Oliveira stipulated that this film—made in 1982—be screened publicly only after his death. One of the Portuguese master’s most exquisite and moving films, and certainly his most personal, Visit assumes the rare form of an auto-elegy. A prowling camera finds Oliveira, who died at 106 this past April, in the Porto house where he had lived for four decades and that he is preparing to leave due to mounting debts. He addresses the audience directly, setting the film’s droll, convivial tone, and discusses a wide range of topics (family history, cinema, architecture), shares home movies, and reenacts his run-in with the military dictatorship. Oliveira’s improbable career took the form of a long goodbye, but this actual farewell is no less touching in its simplicity and lucidity. He made the film at age 73, presumably expecting he was near the end of his life. He would in fact live another 33 years and make another 25 or so films, some of them among his greatest, in an extended twilight and was also an artistic prime unlike any other. Print courtesy of Cinemateca Portuguesa.
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