Monday, December 27, 2010
THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (O Estranho Caso de Angélica), is yet another odd bauble from the 102-year-old Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveria. As was his most recent movie (Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired Girl), the new one is also about the nitwit, obsessive love of a man for a woman he does not know. The earlier film's ill-chosen love object turned out to be a shoplifter. We've graduated: This one's a corpse.
Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, but with the sexes and control reversed. It's all story-book and asexual: kids at play.
Ricardo Trêpa (shown above, center, often used by Oliveira and also the lead in his "Eccentricities") is not the sort of performer who commands the screen. In the recent Spanish Cinema Now film Julia's Eyes, much is made of a character so ordinary looking that he seem to literally blend into the wallpaper. No one in the film can remember what he looks like or anything distinguishing about him. Mr. Trêpa would have made an perfect choice for this role. Here, even screaming at those cemetery gates, he fails to register. But perhaps this is the filmmaker's point: the one-sidedness of obsessive love.
Pilar López de Ayala -- below), it seems as small and cramped as the boarding house in which our hero lives -- despite those trips aloft with the floating corpse.
Cinema Guild, opens in New York at the IFC Center this Wednesday, December 29. Click here for further playdates around the country, scheduled, at this point in time, for February and March 2011.