An insomniac Portuguese chantoosie who auditions random strangers to be her assistant leaves the object of her affection alone at her countryside home in "Swan," another existential puzzle pic from Lusitanian scribe-helmer Teresa Villaverde ("Trance").

An insomniac Portuguese chantoosie who auditions random strangers to be her assistant leaves the object of her affection alone at her countryside home in “Swan,” another existential puzzle pic from Lusitanian scribe-helmer Teresa Villaverde (“Trance”). Moving between gorgeous rural landscapes, shot in bright sunlight and saturated colors, and the harsh darkness of nighttime Lisbon, Villaverde contrasts visual and thematic opposites while forging underground connections between stories of loneliness and companionship. Eschewing traditional narrative in favor of a more associative style, as is Villaverde’s wont, this “Swan” will find its way to small but appreciative fest auds.

Vera (Beatriz Batarda) has selected the handsome Pablo (Miguel Nunes) to be her aide during the Lisbon dates of her tour, because, like her, he never sleeps. At night they talk about themselves, revealing that the love of Vera’s life (Israel Pimenta) is holed up in her countryside home, where he wants to be alone, and that adopted Pablo is looking for his mother while trying to protect a child who’s committed a terrible act. Perfs are committed, and lensing, in a boxy aspect ratio, reps the technical standout.

Swan

Portugal

Production

An Alce Filmes production. Produced, directed, written by Teresa Villaverde.

Crew

Camera (color), Acacio de Almeida; editor, Andree Davanture; production designer, Ze Branco; costume designer, Silvia Grabowski. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 6, 2011. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Beatriz Batarda, Miguel Nunes, Israel Pimenta, Sergio Fernandes, Marcello Urgeghe, Tania Paiva, Lita Roureiro, Veronik Silva.

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