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November 14, 2009

SDFF 2009- Eccentricities of a Blond Haired Girl

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Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura
Manoel de Oliveira - 2009
Pyramide International

It is amazing to realize that Manoel de Oliveira is 100 years old and is still making movies. His newest is a short feature, barely more than an hour in length, adapted from a short story by the Portuguese author, Eca de Queiros. Essentially, the story is about a man, Macario, who falls in love with the young woman, Luisa, who lives across the street. As it turns out, Luisa steals more than Macario's heart.

The story is revealed in flashback with Macario recounting his story to the woman sitting next to him on a train. Macario works as an accountant for his uncle's fabric store. While a mutual friend is able to arrange for Macario to meet Luisa, Macario finds that his prospects for marriage and financial stability are hobbled by the whims of his uncle. What de Oliveira has done is told a 19th Century story in 21st Century dress. The characters conduct themselves as the did in the original short story, and all cultural references are from that time as well.

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Part of the film takes place in a literary club that not only features a sculpture of de Queiros head, but also a display of doll sized models of his characters. Jonathan Rosenbaum has an entertaining assessment of de Oliveira, describing the filmmaker as a "19th Century modernist". To pursue a deeper analysis of Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl to me would be a disservice to this film. The film ends when Macario completes his story about misplaced affection. De Oliveira has probably said most of what he really wants to express in film previously. This short, sweet film was most likely made for the filmmaker's own amusement, and only incidentally for the audience.

Posted by peter at November 14, 2009 12:27 AM

Comments

Thank you for this - I still haven't managed to catch up with this since it played at VIFF earlier in the year but I'm happy to see you enjoyed it. de Oliveira certainly deserves the little love he's been getting the last few years.

Posted by: Marina Antunes at November 16, 2009 05:28 PM