Voyage to the Beginning of the World

Oliveira would make more than one “farewell film,” and he's hip to that in this rambling, playfully philosophical work about an aging director making a trip to his past. Marcello Mastroianni, in his last film appearance, plays the director Manoel, who is joined by actors from his current production (played by actors from Oliveira's films, Leonor Silveira and Diogo Dória. The real Oliveira plays the driver). The premise is that he's hitched a ride to his own youth with a French actor in their party, Afonso (Jean-Yves Gauthier), who desires to visit the place from which his Portuguese father fled to France as a young man. There, in a rough, impoverished territory where all the men are named Afonso, an extraordinarily beautiful old woman tells of a village slowly drained of life, yet still living. She takes over the film, proving the throwaway line that becomes its mantra: “Between eras there lies a time that becomes the present.”

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