Review: ‘Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl’

Now in his 100th year, Manoel de Oliveira tries on realist author Eca de Queiroz for size and finds, in "Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl," that there's still plenty of symbolism to be mined even in the 19th-century's most naturalistic author.

Now in his 100th year, Manoel de Oliveira tries on realist author Eca de Queiroz for size and finds, in “Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl,” that there’s still plenty of symbolism to be mined even in the 19th-century’s most naturalistic author. Those familiar with the master’s airtight tableaux and controlled line-delivery won’t find much has changed in the switch to Zola-like territory, updated to the present and told as a flashback by an earnest man discovering his love didn’t deserve his adulation. Euro fests and cinematheques will appreciate the idiosyncrasies of “Eccentricities.”

Macario (Ricardo Trepa) confides his secrets to a stranger (Leonor Silveira) on a train. He was smitten when he first spied sensual Luisa (Catarina Wallenstein) in the window across from his office, coquettishly toying with a Chinese fan. Romance developed, but his employer/uncle Francisco (Diogo Doria) refused to sanction such sentiment, and Macario took a lucrative offer in the Cape Verde Islands to make his fortune. On returning to Lisbon, he finds his generosity has created another stumbling block. The dreamlike quality of recollection gives Oliveira’s mannered diorama style additional context.

Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl

Portugal-France-Spain

Production

A Filmes do Tejo II (Portugal)/Les Films de l'Apres-Midi (France)/Eddie Saeta (Spain) production. (International sales: Pyramide, Paris.) Produced by Francois d'Artemare, Maria Joao Mayer, Luis Minarro. Executive producer, Jacques Arhex. Directed, written by Manoel de Oliveira, based on the short story by Eca de Queiroz.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Sabine Lancelin; editors, Oliveira, Catherine Krassovsky; production designers, Christian Marti, Jose Pedro Penha; costume designer, Adelaide Maria Trepa. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale Special), Feb. 9, 2009. Portuguese dialogue. Running time: 63 MIN.

With

Ricardo Trepa, Catarina Wallenstein, Diogo Doria, Julia Buisel, Leonor Silveira, Luis Miguel Cintra, Gloria de Matos, Filipe Vargas, Rogerio Samora, Miguel Guilherme, Rogerio Vieira.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading