Ema is a very attractive but innocent girl, so pretty that cars crash in her presence. Young marries Dr. Carlo Paiva, who she is not attracted to, but is her father's friend. They move to ... See full summary »
Well the resemblance of the plot with the Flaubert's novel is very superficial after all. This is much more than a story of bourgeois adultery. It's the story of an intelligent and sensitive young woman brought up in the frame of the society of mid-20th century northern Portugal in an atmosphere of bigotry and social stagnation who marries a man she does not love and whose life has no way out. The plot develops itself in old rural mansions under the eyes of a silent witness, the deaf-and-dumb servant Ritinha who sees everything and understands everything without speaking or intervening by any means but forming with Ema the main character, a strong union of love and mutual understanding. The visual images develop themselves in a slow poetic movement which is Oliveira's favourite. The scenery however, is beautifully located in the Portuguese river Douro one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.