22 April 2005 | jpmota
Dull, boring, a regular Oliveira's film - GO SEE IT!
I had to see this film, it was about all I like: Portuguese History. It may be one of the richest, in battles, glory, drama, myth... a small country with the most amazing historical background (celts, Romans, sueves, Goths, Arabs, francs...), a nation that could and would rule over the entire world for about 200 years without any opposition (from 1384 to 1583), the so-called Portuguese Centuries! But Oliveira centers his movie around the Portuguese downfall, the way Portugal virtually disappeared from international political scene during the 20th century during the fascist regime, that destroyed the Portuguese place in the world while feeding the people with lies about their glorious past. And what more adequate episode of Portuguese recent History, than the Colonial Wars? From 1963 to 1975, thousands of Portuguese soldiers were killed, wounded, maimed, in the forests of former Portuguese colonies in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau), leaving a permanent scar in Portuguese society that's not healed even today... Oliveira joins everything, from the myths of the past to Alcacer-Quibir, to the Colonial Wars, attempting closure. It achieves none. The movie becomes too dull, too slow (although the photography is amazing), and the marriage of King John (Henry the Navigator's father, and the one that started the Portuguese Centuries after defeating the Castillans in Aljubarrota in 1384) shows exactly that (a priest reciting in Spanish with actors placed like cardboard cuts imitating a famous painting). The only scene with stamina belongs to the famous actor Ruy de Carvalho, a warrior ranting about the uselessness of war... A nice movie if you're an intellectual; a boring one if you're a passionate lover of History!