Tuesday, 29 September 2009


A quixotic accountant named Macário opens up to the woman next to him on a train, seeking some form of approval for his love of an unpredictable young woman named Luisa. He confides that Francisco, his uncle and employer, had dismissed him for his silly fantasy, and proudly recounts how he clawed his way up from impending bankruptcy all in the name of love. As he indulges himself further in his own story, we begin to see more of what really happened, as well as the titular eccentricities of the object of his affections.

The most obvious fact to be mentioned about this film is that it was made by 100-year-old filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, a vivacious character who for several decades has been the only superpower in Portuguese cinema. Though it’s hardly a life’s work at just 64 minutes, de Oliveira demonstrates a light pertness through his many layers of storytelling. The story itself is an updated version of an 1874 novel by legendary writer Eça de Queiroz, but the relationships and values within appear scarcely modernised. Nonetheless, the film is openly idealistic, and while it doesn’t particularly grate, the romantic moments can occasionally feel insincere, a setback which also plagued de Oliveira’s recent Belle Toujours. Macário’s starry-eyed memories of Luisa in particular play out a little like a perfume advert: beautiful but emotionally underdeveloped. The final scene is perfectly enigmatic, eluding any logical conclusion, and it is little wonder that the gorgeous last shot features on the poster.

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