Gebo and the Shadow

(Gebo et l'ombre)
(France, Portugal, 2012, 95 mins, DCP)
Director:
Cast Michael Lonsdale, Claudia Cardinale, Jeanne Moreau, Leonor Silveira, Ricardo Trêpa, Luís Miguel Cintra
PRODS Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Luis Urbano
SCR Manoel de Oliveira
CAM Renato Berta
ED Valérie Loiseleux
PROD DES Christian Marti
PROD CO MACT Productions / O som e a fúria
Classification:

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The centenarian Manoel de Oliveira’s 2012 film—an adaptation of a play by Raul Brandão—is an exquisite yet anguished spectacle, a grand piece of cinematic chamber music for a cast of mighty soloists. The setting is a cramped, chilly room off a desolate courtyard, sometime in the late nineteenth century, where a poor, elderly couple, Gebo (Michael Lonsdale) and Doroteia (Claudia Cardinale), are haunted by the eight-year absence of their prodigal son, whose wife, Sofia (Leonor Silveira), they have taken in. He’s the shadow who darkens the family’s meagre and narrow existence, and then he makes his fiery-eyed, defiant return. The young man, João (Ricardo Trêpa), is a scruffy-bearded, jumpy, Dostoyevskian rebel who boasts of his life of crime and impenitently, even sadistically threatens to rend what’s left of the family’s threadbare bonds. The elder actors conjure stifled furies with their pensive stillness and chisel-sharp diction, and Oliveira—aided by the lambent evocation of gaslight by his cinematographer, Renato Berta—presents them in frames of dramatic precision that evoke the enduring agonies of a vanished century. A shot of João and a dish of peaches in front of mottled green-gray walls suggests the hard, rough world of Cézanne brought back to life. With Jeanne Moreau, as a prophetic neighbor, and Luís Miguel Cintra, as an aged, still-struggling artist.—Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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Ilaria Gomarsca
Pyramide International
5, rue du Chevalier de Saint-George
75008 Paris
Phone 1: (33.1) 4296-0220