Christopher Columbus: The Enigma

Oliveira continues his journey across culture and history with his delightful new film, interweaving the search for Christopher Columbus's true identity with the stories of those seeking it. Amateur historians Manuel Luciano da Silva (a medical doctor in practice) and his wife Silvia hope to prove that Columbus was actually Portuguese-born; their search is lovingly re-created by Oliveira, who even, in a brilliant act of osmosis, casts himself and his wife as an older version of the couple, still seeking the truth. A journey of, about, and in honor of exploration, the film spans centuries and continents, and offers as many gems on empire and European colonial history as any textbook (filtered through Oliveira's own history in experimental theater and cinema, that is). “Part literary adaptation, part scholarly romance, part impish exercise in avant-garde nationalism, and altogether enchanting” (Nathan Lee, Village Voice).

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