Mysteries of Lisbon (Ruiz, 2010): BFI Southbank, Studio 6pm
This film is on an extended run at the cinema until March 20. Details here.
Time Out review:
'Set in Lisbon around the turn of the twentieth century (but always skipping back and forth in time), this colossal journey begins with a young orphan named João wondering if he’ll ever know who his parents are. The man who runs the orphanage is the benevolent Father Dinis (Adriano Luz), a man revealed as João’s life-long protector and who, it transpires, has been intricately involved in the messy business of João’s parentage. Another man, a drunken, belching gypsy known as Knife-Eater (Ricardo Pereira), is given a passage into high society under the alias of Alberto de Magalhães when Dinis (now playing the master of disguise) buys his loyalty away from a nobleman who has paid him to slay João at birth.
The production design and costumes are immaculate, while Ruiz’s camera glides around soirées, ducks under tables and peers from behind curtains. The suggestion is that it’s a world any innocent bystander can infiltrate, but also that immersing yourself in other people’s petty affairs can be surprisingly engrossing if you view them from the correct vantage point. So actually, we’re not just asking you to make room for Ruiz’s breathtaking soap opera, but to block-book a week, a month, a year to (re)discover the largely unknown back catalogue of this quietly virtuoso and sadly departed filmmaker. '
Here is the trailer.