Country: Portugal / France
Review: “Gebo and The Shadow”, directed by centenary Manoel de Oliveira, is another tale about money, based on a 19th Century play by Raul Brandão. The iconic Portuguese filmmaker addresses this subject for the second time in the last four years, after “Eccentricities of A Blonde Haired Girl” has been released in 2009. There are some clear differences between them. In “Gebo and The Shadow” the language chosen was the French (not a novelty though), the approach was much more theatrical than cinematic, the cinematography by Renato Berta was more appealing, and a great international cast was included with the participation of veterans such as Michael Lonsdale, Claudia Cardinale, and Jeanne Moreau. Despite these transformations, many things continue to be a staple in Oliveira’s works, like his way of filming through long and static shots, or the occasional classical score used to enhance the outer composed pictures, or even the rest of the cast, which includes Oliveira’s muse Leonor Silveira who has participated in 19 of his movies. This wordy tale may be a boring experience for some viewers due to its literate tone, murky ambience, and slowness. In my case, I found it an interesting story about anguish and sacrifice, which with a bit less theatrical tones and a bit more camera movement would have achieved better results. But certainly that won’t be an issue for Oliveira’s style supporters.