Feliz aniversário, Manoel! | Bleader

Friday, December 12, 2008

Feliz aniversário, Manoel!

Posted By on 12.12.08 at 12:32 PM

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Manoel de Oliveira celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday, presumably by coming in to work. His latest inspiration—a film called Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura ... and your guess is as good as mine how to translate that—is currently in production, marking the 46th feature of his career, 20 of which he's completed since reaching the age of 80. 

So what's the secret of the axiomatic Portuguese's longevity? Here's what the director had to say in a recent Euronews interview (via GreenCine Daily):

It is work! It is doing something, it is a natural impulsion. My life is so complicated—I need space around me, I have so much going on and my house is small, and I need breathing space. I cannot seem to sort it out. I cannot either stretch time, or enlarge the house. That would take up precious time which I cannot afford ...

But I work in a whole range of fields—that is what is interesting. If you stop, you die; if you keep going, you live.

Not a lot of centenarian whippersnappers around anymore (as if there ever were or could be), or at least who can manage an equivalent artistic workload—Oscar Niemeyer, architect of Brasilia, still designs buildings at the age of 101, and Elliott Carter, who also, quite coincidentally, turned 100 yesterday, continues to compose intricately notated chamber music in a classical modernist vein that I've never been able to make heads or tails of, but then what do I know? But aside from this centennial crew, who else is out there?

Maybe y'all can come up with some other names ...

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