16 September 2002 | jairo
After losing wife, daughter and son-in-law in a car accident, an old actor tries to overcome his grief bringing his grandson to live with him.
It´s amazing how Manoel de Oliveira, who's 93 years old, accomplishes so much in this film using so little. The story is quite simple and there´s nothing very unusual about the characters. But the film captures the audience´s attention in a remarkable way. We get to know so much about the characters that sometimes we feel that we´re reading a book, when the author has pages and pages to tell everything about them. Michel Picoli plays a successful stage actor who, after losing wife, daughter and son-in-law in a car accident, learns to overcome his grief bringing his young grandson to live with him. Manuel de Oliveira doesn't use exciting camera angles nor spectacular takes. Everything is quite simple in his film. It's the simplicity of a master, who knows perfectly well what's he's doing. Acting is superlative. Picoli's work is on the level of the best performances of Ingmar Bergman's actors. And, of course, there's John Malkovich, with very few lines but an enormous intensity, in the role of an American film director who's shooting a movie version of James Joyce's "Ulysses". This is one of the most intelligent, delicate and touching films I've seen in many years.