A radiant Maria de Medeiros stars in this early Monteiro work, feverishly staged as a 15th-century religious painting and based on two ancient Portuguese tales of young damsels illicitly seduced by older men, and their subsequent vengeance. The fragile beauty Silvia (de Medeiros) and her sister Susana are abused by a sinister villain in the night; several courtships, weddings, and years later, young Silvia has disguised herself as a man (“Silvestre”) to fight in the war, but meets, once again, the villain. “Those who speak to me of love will pay dearly for it,” she vows, before proving it. But Monteiro's less interested in the tale than how it is told. Placing his becalmed actors in front of increasingly lurid, beautifully painted sets (complete with richly colored backdrops and even front-projected imagery), Monteiro takes the art of tableaux back a few hundred years to embrace the colors, madness, and ecstatic beauty of framing, and presenting, myth.

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