The Portuguese Nun (A Religiosa Portuguesa) (2009)
Filmmaker Eugene Green pays homage to Manoel de Oliveira, a Portuguese director whose had a profound influence on his style, with this drama of a woman eager for a new lease on life. Julie (Leonor Baldaque) is a French actress who is still nursing a broken heart after a bad breakup with her boyfriend. Julie travels to Lisbon to begin work on her latest project, in which she'll play the title role in a screen adaptation of the novel Letters of a Portuguese Nun. Julie is fascinated with Lisbon, and spends much of her spare time exploring the city, and she opens herself up to encounters with a wealthy and prominent man (Diogo Dória) as well as one of her fellow actors (Adrien Michaux). However, Julie learns the most about herself and her heart when she strikes up a friendship with a local boy who has lost his parents (Francisco Mozos), enjoys some long conversations with a nun (Ana Moreira) who is advising the production, and learns to love Portugal's native fado music. A Religiosa Portuguesa (aka The Portuguese Nun) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Portuguese Nun (A Religiosa Portuguesa)
Superior, elegant, distinctive, formalistic, unconventional art film.
Baldaque is called upon to spend most of the film wandering the city having enigmatic encounters with her co-star, an orphan boy and a real Portuguese nun. Epiphanies duly follow. As does boredom.
A solemn, portentous affair, dramatically, verbally and visually, where everyone talks in an uninflected manner.
Despite the distancing preciousness, there are compensations in the beautiful Lisbon vistas, fado music and unexpectedly moving resolution.
all these alienation effects, fictive tricks and metacinematic games, right down to the reflexivity of the film-within-a-film, in the end serve less to distance The Portuguese Nun than to ally it to a sort of metaphysical quest
Elegant, eccentric and absolutely captivating, this is simply a gem.
Gorgeous to behold, graced by a lovely fado score, this is exquisite cinema.
Wide-eyed, trance-like close-ups; tableau-style framings; vocal delivery toneless yet declarative. The film is not afraid to seem ridiculous, but why should it be?
This is potent, passionate and provocative stuff. But it's also irresistibly poetic and unexpectedly playful.
It's a droll, tongue-in-cheek exchange in a film that's well aware of its own unconventional appeal to high-minded cinephiles.
The real star is director Eugene Green's quirky style: enigmatic dialogue, lengthy tracks and pans, actors speaking directly to the camera, shots of feet set against the cobblestone streets and picture-postcard-perfect vistas of the city.
Mr. Green is fascinated by the possibility that the collision of eros and religion suggested by his literary source might have some resonance in the present, and he explores it in a way that is both cerebral and sensual.
The result is like nothing else playing, which makes it the best movie in town almost by default.
Green is fascinated by actress Leonor Baldaque's eyes, his own rigorous formalism, and the architecture, art, and music of Lisbon-in that order.
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