The Letter (1999)
aka La Lettre
First screened in May 2020
Director: Manoel de Oliveira. Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Pedro Abrunhosa, Antoine Chappey, Leonor Silveira, Françoise Fabian, Maria João Pires, Anny Romand, Luís Miguel Cintra, Stanislas Merhar, Claude Lévèque, Marcel Terroux, Jean-Loup Wolff. Screenplay: Manoel de Oliveira (inspired by the book The Princess of Clèves by Madame de La Fayette).

Twitter Capsule: Strange, spare story, blending cultural and literary conventions of 17th-century source with modern idioms and affects.

Second Capsule: Oliveira contrasts but also blurs his antique inspiration with his contemporary moment. Chamber drama and arena rock in an odd pas-de-deux.

VOR:   Doesn't fully shake the foundations of a certain kind of austere Europhile art cinema, but it's impressively idiosyncratic and moves unpredictably.

Photo © 1999 Madragoa Filmes/Gemini Films/Wanda Films

Not yet reviewed in full. Grade: B

Cannes Film Festival: Jury Prize

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