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Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira directed this 187-minute feature (1993), his 13th, in his mid-80s. His adaptation of a novel written at his suggestion by Agustina Bessa-Luis (who also wrote the source novel for Oliveira's 1981 masterpiece Francisca) is largely a pastiche of Madame Bovary transposed to an upper-class Portuguese and 20th-century milieu, with a detailed offscreen narration that reeks of 19th-century fiction. Oliveira is both a high modernist and a Victorian aristocrat, which makes him paradoxically something of an opulent minimalist, and this beautifully shot, slow-moving, talky meditation on a life of leisure led by an adulterous woman differs most radically from Flaubert's novel in its indifference to the middle class. There's also a very modern and ironic attitude toward representation that leads Oliveira to emphasize the difference in the appearances of the two actresses who play the heroine at different ages. With Leonor Silveira, Cecile Sanz de Alba, and Luis Miguel Cintra. In Portuguese with subtitles.

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