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Critics reviews
Visit, or Memories and Confessions
Manoel de Oliveira Portugal, 1982
It’s Manoel de Oliveira’s lasting cinematic elegy: a visit to a house filled with evidence of a life well lived, an exploration of memories that permeate through spaces and objects of importance.
September 14, 2016
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The tone manages to be at the same time playfully ironic and elegiac.
January 04, 2016
…It’s definite that [Oliveira’s wife] was offering it to his film—his only-to-be-watched-after-my-death autobiographical film, no less. And it makes the movie. It allows us, encourages us, to question the matter and mode of the director’s self-presentation. As with Jane in Diaries, it both punctures and aerates the balloon.
October 16, 2015
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Though only 72 at the time of shooting, the film seems like a summation, a wrapping up, as he strolls through a Portuguese film studio and reflects on his own insignificance as the roll of film ends, cutting to white screen and the sound of flapping celluloid. He would go on to shoot twenty-five more features.
October 06, 2015
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At one level, Visita is so personal, you’d imagine it would mean something to his close immediate family. Or at least to cinephiles who have seen his work over the years. But it is redolent of so much understanding, of so much compassion and empathy, of so much human experience.
September 15, 2015
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As Josè Manuel Costa pointed out, the great director wanted the film to be shown posthumously not as a final boast, but rather a wry, modest memoir of an exceptionally full life. By turns ironic and confessional, Oliveira’s testament demonstrates that we can be moved by a soft-spoken, patient peeling back of layers of the past.
July 14, 2015
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What an unveiling. Visit, Or Memories and Confessions is a sublime and simple mediation on the inevitability of death, but so much more playful than one might expect… It’s a quiet, drowsy love letter to the dimming past, the waking present, and an uncertain future with more hope than despair.
July 13, 2015
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Throughout all of the bombast and bluster that characterise Cannes, this slender, 68-minute film, the result of one of the great artists of the modern era doing what comes naturally to him, reminds us of the true essence of film, and the true raison d’être of film festivals. Put simply, every film festival is a dialogue of the sentiments.
June 13, 2015
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This love, as well as this unquenchable spirit, is felt in every carefully composed frame Oliveira ever shot, and it’s what makes Visit, or Memories and Confessions less a forlorn farewell than an inspiring invitation to push valiantly onward, no matter what time or circumstance may otherwise dictate.
June 11, 2015
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This is not a good film; this is a great film. And in a way, it is a documentary. Like some of Oliveira’s other films, it really refused the divide between documentary and fiction… Now it’s somehow an absolutely new film. It feels fresh in a strange way.
June 05, 2015
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A film on the level of The Assassin, Carol, or any of the better films at the competition. Just like all of the best of Oliveira, very playful, very contemplative of man’s place in the cosmos, the passage of time … you see these fantastic family photographs, you see Oliveira as a child… It’s the ultimate home movie. It’s a movie about his home so it’s also a movie about his whole life.
June 05, 2015
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Oliveira’s late career took the form of a long goodbye, but this actual farewell in no less touching in its simplicity and lucidity. Oliveira made this film at age seventy-three, presumably expecting that he was near the end of his life. He would live another thirty-six years and make another twenty-five or so films, some of them among his greatest, in an extended twilight that was also an artistic prime unlike any other.
June 03, 2015
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Oliveira’s visuals never fail to capture inanimate objects, such as sculptures, paintings, buildings, or even a trivial grapevine, as characters in their own right. Alas, film history is light on movies that have truly altered the way we read the world around us, but here, in Oliveira’s testament, everything has a secret magnanimously to share.
June 02, 2015
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Amidst our tour of a space, a home, we enter into storytelling, memories and history through the power of Oliveira’s words and through the conjuration of moving and still images—the latter laid on top of Oliveira speaking or his wife gardening. My thoughts again turn to that master of the memory of architecture and the possibilities of recollection, Alain Resnais.
May 22, 2015
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Late in the film, in a powerful anecdote, [Oliveira] speaks of his 1963 arrest by the secret police under Portugal’s then-repressive government. “I’ve always sacrificed everything so I could make my films,” he says. “Visit” closes with a flourish suggesting that this director who lived more than a century remained eternally young.
May 22, 2015
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