Friday, April 3, 2015

In Memory: Manoel de Oliveira

On April 2nd in Oporto, Portugal, the legendary filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira passed away at the age of 106. He was considered by many to be the oldest living filmmaker.

Sadly news of Mr. de Oliveira'a death has not traveled fast in the film world. The big name movie critics were/ are silent. Too bad. Oh sure the New York Times published an obituary but where was film critic A.O. Scott's column on the director's work? Where was Manohla Dargis? What happened to Michael Wilmington's column on moviecitynews?

Of course these critics or their defenders would say, Alex, no one cares if Manoel de Oliveira died. Why would these critics waste their time writing about him? My reply is, they should "waste their time" writing about him because he made movies. He was an important filmmaker with a vast body of work which sadly has not been properly distributed in America. And as for people not caring, that is probably true. But, why doesn't the public care? Because movie critics don't spend time talking or writing about him. Maybe the critics aren't familiar with his work either, who knows. The media creates the interest and diverts the attention of the public to the issue they want to. Whether or not if the issue is important.

Oliveira was born in Oporto, Portugal in 1908 and even in his old age the master found the time to make one movie a year.

He started his career making documentaries. His first was in 1931, "Working on the Douro River". Eventually this lead to a career in feature length films. "Aniki-Bobo" (1942) was his debut.

On this blog I have reviewed a few of his movies. Here are the links.

Belle Toujours
The Convent
I'm Going Home
The Strange Case of Angelica