Hovering over Water

The narrative conventions of women's melodrama and film noir are stripped to the core in this minimalist intervention by Monteiro, set among the sun-dappled beaches and white-stoned homes of the Algarve. Returning home from Italy, a young widow spends her slow days in the company of her all-female family, but her idyll is interrupted by the arrival of a stranger, “Robert,” with an American accent and an unknown past. Soon other events-a nearby murder, the arrival of some thugs-intrude as well, or maybe they don't, as the days and nights still pass by, and the mysterious “Robert” still lingers. (“He came straight out of one of Hemingway's novels,” says her friend, “as if it was still possible to come straight out of Hemingway's novels”). As always, Monteiro frequently ignores what could be a pulpy, noirish plot for more pressing concerns, like how to cook a fish, the way the sun rises above the sea, or how to best frame a woman's face.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.