Manoel de Oliveira, who clocks in at 105, has made yet another full-length feature (of course, he was only 103 when this one was first released), GEBO AND THE SHADOW, which, thanks to Anthology Film Archives here in New York City, is finally getting a week's theatrical release in the USA. Unlike his last couple of full-lengthers -- Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired Girl and The Strange Case of Angelica -- both of which were oddities that didn't easily give up their meaning(s), this new one is as straight-ahead simple as you could wish.
I'm Going Home, I've off and on been suggesting that maybe it was time that de Oliveira (pictured at right) hung up his camera and typewriter. But then, in 2003, he made A Talking Picture, to my mind one of his best ever, so I determined to keep my mouth and computer shut on the subject. His films are seldom uninteresting, at least in pieces, and his latest is actually one of the more interesting endeavors, if only because it proceeds at such a measured pace, with its theme and story so blatant and repeated that no one could go away from this work wondering what it meant.
Claudia Cardinale, above), father (Michael Lonsdale, below), and daughter-in-law (Leonor Silveira). Each seem in thrall to their image of the missing son, with father taking it upon himself to constantly lie to mother to protect her and help keep her spirits "up" (which she never manages to do).
Jeanne Moreau, above, left) and Luís Miguel Cintra (above, second from right).
Ricardo Trêpa, above) takes to doing it: "Deep down, those who kill are those with the biggest hearts." Oh, absolutely! Once the climax occurs and then the denouement, we are left with this moral: The wages of pretense are abysmal in the petty lives of the petite bourgeoisie.
Renato Berta) using a color palette of rich hues of green, brown, and rust, then lighted with a golden glow (the movie is almost exclusively interiors), Gebo and the Shadow is minimalist in every way except the cinematography. The movie -- in French with English subtitles and running 95 minutes -- opens this Wednesday, May 28, and runs through Tuesday, June 3 at Anthology. For directions to AFA, click here; for tickets, click here.