Guest Program - Francisca

3 April, 2020 - 22:00

Selected by Pedro Costa

Of all the films I’ve seen in Cannes, and I’ve been going to Cannes for the past 28 years, the new Oliveira was the biggest. More so: uniquely big, moving, profound — perhaps something that surpasses everything that has been done in terms of reading literature in a cinematographic way.” — Peter von Bagh

In the presence of Pedro Costa

With the support of Cinemateca Portuguesa


Manoel de Oliveira

Francisca is the “superb and grandiose conclusion” (Le Monde) of de Oliveira’s so-called “Tetralogy of frustrated love” (with Past and Present (1972), Benilde (1974) and Doomed Love (1979)), and one of the great works of melancholia. Based on a book by Agustina Bessa-Luís, one of de Oliveira’s main writing collaborators, the film chronicles the true story of the tragic nineteenth-century love affair between Fanny Owen and José Augusto, whose all-consuming passion was ill-fated from the start. But Francisca takes Doomed Love’s Romeo and Juliet story to extremes of darkness; the entire film is composed of a shadow play, where death and the supernatural linger over the hapless lovers. The film marks de Oliveira’s extensive use of literary intertitles and furthers his meticulously stylized tableaux and sumptuous life friezes. Francisca caused a major sensation at Cannes when it premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight, and Cahiers du cinema declared it “a masterpiece that can’t even be compared with the films in the official competition,” with dialogues which “are absolutely magnificent and among the most beautiful in cinema.”


New digital restoration by Cinemateca Portuguesa