One of Portugal’s greatest filmmakers portrays one of its greatest writers in this biographical gem, the culmination of the trilogy that Manoel de Oliveira began with Doomed Love (1978) and Francisca (1991). As with Francisca, The Day of Despair finds Oliveira depicting the life of the 19th-century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, here played by Mario Barroso. Drawing from Branco’s correspondence with the writer Ana Plácido, this film follows Branco’s final days, with the great, scandalous author tormented by his own internal tensions as his health takes a dive and the possibility of continuing to write grows ever more remote. Oliveira’s execution of this portrait of an anguished master of letters—marked by gorgeous, enveloping, painterly images—yields an essential tribute. This copy is the result of the 4K digitisation of the original 35mm camera negative and the final sound mix, on magnetic tape, both elements conserved by the Cinemateca Portuguesa. Color grading and digital restoration of the image were made by Cineric Portugal in 2022 using a distribution print as reference.
This film has no current screenings