Venerable Portuguese helmer Manoel de Oliveira is set to direct French-language period drama “O Gebo e a sombra” (Gebo and the Shadow).
Adapted from Portuguese writer Raul Brandao’s realist novel, the €1.6 million ($2.2 million) pic is produced by Luis Urbano’s Lisbon-based O Som e a Furia and Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre’s Paris outfit Mact Prods.
Set in the late 19th century, “Gebo” turns on a patriarch who sacrifices himself to protect his fugitive son. The 102-year-old filmmaker penned the adaptation, transposing the story to Paris.
Pic toplines Michel Piccoli, Leonor Silveira and the director’s grandson Ricardo Trepa.
Piccoli starred in Oliveira’s “Belle toujours” and “I’m Going Home,” considered the helmer’s best recent pics.
“Manoel had wanted to make this film for a long time; it’s a story about poverty that echoes contemporary issues,” said Urbano.
“Gebo” is Oliveira’s follow-up to “The Strange Case of Angelica,” a Cannes Un Certain Regard player in 2010.
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It’s his first collaboration with O Som e a Furia and Mact.
Both companies last teamed on Eugene Green’s “The Portuguese Nun.”
The film is fully financed and will start lensing in late August or early September in Paris. French distribution will be handled by Epicentre Films, which released Oliveira’s last two films, “Angelica” and “Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl.”