Doomed Love | Chicago Reader

Doomed Love

Manoel de Oliveira's 265-minute adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco's 19th-century romance contains virtually every word of the source novel, played out in perfect fidelity to the text. The result is a striking, eccentric film that finds its meaning in the rupture between a 20th-century medium and an antique rhetoric, measuring the passage of time through the modulations of human thought. A wealthy young man falls in love with the daughter of a rival aristocratic family; kept apart by their parents, the two lovers communicate through long, impassioned letters. Oliveira constructs a temple of words against a deliberately stiff, theatrical mise-en-scene, yet for all its abstraction, the film is astonishingly immediate and moving, driven by a prickly obsessiveness and a swooning romanticism. In Portuguese with subtitles.

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