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Manoel de Oliveira’s Tetralogy of Frustrated Love

Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira produced four films between 1972 and 1981,  that established his international reputation. Literary adaptations that sprawled in length and drew on 19th-century theatrical conventions as well as modern narrative conventions, they are presented together at New York's Lincoln Center.

Past and Present, 1972
Adapting a darkly comic play about a widow with a habit of falling in love with her husbands after their deaths, Oliveira turned his attention away from Portugal’s rural poor and toward the country’s petty, scheming bourgeoisie.

Benilde, or the Virgin Mother, 1975
Oliveira’s fourth feature was one of his major breakthroughs as a filmmaker: a sensual, deeply ambiguous fable about a sheltered young woman who tells her wealthy, religious parents that she’s been impregnated in the wake of an angelic visitation.

Doomed Love, 1979
The nearly four-and-a-half-hour centerpiece of Oliveira’s tetralogy, adapted from a hugely popular 1862 novel about two star-crossed lovers, drew outrage in Portugal but won widespread acceptance abroad as a milestone in ’70s art-house cinema.

Francisca, 1981
Camilo Castelo Branco, the author of the novel from which Oliveira adapted Doomed Love, emerged as a character in the director’s next film—a sinister portrait of a mutually destructive love affair with surprising connections to Oliveira’s own family history.

New York: Feb. 25 - 28 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.