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493 Ratings

Abraham's Valley

Vale Abraão

Directed by Manoel de Oliveira
Portugal, France, 1993


Ema is a very attractive but innocent girl. Young marries Dr. Carlo Paiva, who she is not attracted to. They move to the Valley of Abraham. Carlo loves her, but sleeps in a separate room. With time she begins to feel unhappy about her marriage, so she takes a lover.

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Abraham's Valley Directed by Manoel de Oliveira
Abraham Valley [is] the story of a latter-day Madame Bovary is spun out by sober voiceover narration, giving us the hypnotic impression of reading a stately, rambling novel.
December 01, 2008
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An epic work from Oliveira’s magisterial late period. Inspired by Flaubert’s Madame Bovary though retaining only the novel’s basic structure, the film is actually a thorough dismantling of the ethos of Falubert’s era. As with other films in this stage of Oliveira’s career, the film abounds with subtle absurdism. The effect is similar to traditional painting or the processional style of pre-Modern theater, but the unforgettable aura that Oliveira creates is eerily timeless.
July 04, 2008
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Valle Abraao is a curious ignition for worldwide cine-fame: a three-hour-plus, self-consciously literary and hyper-rehearsed study of the Madame Bovary template… Oliveira’s approach is kind of a Bresson/Buñuel bouillabaisse, stressing the stiff artificiality of his scenes, and the narration over the action (which describes dialogues and actions as they happen), while at the same time going for a sarcastic satire whose very flatness is part of the joke.
March 12, 2008
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What are people saying?

  • tidal waif's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    Some films present ‘slices’ of life, others recreate it fastidiously as exquisite platonic solids that leaves one wondering about their perplexing connection to fact. The question is more burning with some films than others and it’s not a new one - there was a time in Renaissance when the unsettling beauty of found Ancient sculpture was seen as too much to assign to human hand alone, so nature was literally thought

  • petit astronaute's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    35mm. 3,7. Abrindo, o filme promete uma saborosa variação sobre Lolita. Cresce, e a contragosto chamar-se-á Bovarinha. Mais tarde com duas filhas o filme pesa um pouco, os tons escurecidos. O Douro permanece

  • kartina obskura's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    do we think of white when we see black, of the sun when we see the moon? associations through opposites. a burning desire wrapped in austerity, breathing between cold walls of earth-brown color. "i´m nothing, i'm a swinging state of mind".it´s not boredom, it's a feeling of being beaten whatever you do. willing to recognize ancient fires in caves in modern fireworks, but left frustrated. there´s energy but it´s like

  • Marc St-Cyr (Death cinéphilia)'s rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    The narrative is often confused; the film is full of ellipses that the viewers need to fill. A great complex and very personal adaptation based on one of the finest novel of all time. Strong and nuanced performance by Leonor Silveira, excellent but difficult to grasp screenplay, beautiful cinematography, many absurdity, anachronism!!! and funny reference to Madame Bovary. (need second VHS viewing)

  • mad.lucas's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    Poetic saga about the life of a portuguese girl since her youth until the days as a mother, passing through marriage crises, extramarital affairs and an unexpected ending. Incredible scenery, extremely intelligent dialogues and beautiful costumes. Leonor Silveira was a great surprise as the ruthless Ema. Highly recomended to fans of family sagas with a touch of feminist sensitivity.

  • Material Salva+ion's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    I tried to connect with this piece considered by many one of the greatest in Portuguese cinema but all I could feel was utter boredom throughout its lengthy 3 hours. Exhausting voice over, pedantic text, lethargic pace, laughable in unintended moments and dusty overly theatrical acting except for the great Isabel Ruth which never fails to draw her characters with a masterful economy and genuine expressiveness.

  • nyubu's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    It is as if you go for walk with an old man. He goes, step by step, deliberately, but surely, silently. No stumbles or staggers, no need to lean for him. His eyes are dazzling. Yet, the trip is a calvary for you. No idea what’s on his mind. No clue, what’s the destination. You just have accept his tempo. Thus you slow down. And that’s enough to look around with different eyes. And then it s l o w l y comes...

  • LI-IX's rating of the film Abraham's Valley

    Manoel de Oliveira reaches here the peak of his artistic style, showing the maturity of a cinema that belongs to the latter classical tradition. This subtle and delightful game of mirrors revolves around a flawless performance by Leonor Silveira, and constitutes one of the most elaborated —yet simple— aesthetic achievements of this unforgettable filmmaker.

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