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Mysteries of Lisbon [Blu-ray] [Import]

 Unrated   Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 32.86 & FREE Shipping. Details
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Dooley HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This is a Portuguese film from director, Raul Ruiz that is basically a series of short stories that are all held together by a web of connections that some could see as contrived, but actually works, that is if you can stay with it. The reason I say that is this is in two parts and actually lasts 266 minutes long that is 4 and a half hours in old money and is on two discs, so does require commitment.

Spread over Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil we have an orphaned boy finding his way in the world, a benign and caring priest who has more than one past, a street thug turned entrepreneur with a penchant for the ladies. A lady scorned, and a lot of running off to join monasteries and nunneries, which seems like a bit of a cop out, but was quite popular in the day so I am told. We also have an evil count, a reformed roustabout and some rubbish duels. There is so much here and it is told at a leisurely pace, which will infuriate some viewers, as we can have a whole scene where very little happens but moves the plot on at a somewhat glacial pace. However, it actually works as the pacing makes you consider what is taking place on the screen and affords you the time to fully weigh up the importance to the players of what can be seen by a modern eye as a pretty minor issue, to say more would be a bit of a spoiler.

With a cast list of to many to mention, the one actor I thought was outstanding was Father Dinis played by Adriano Luz, but there is not one bad performance. Lovers of costume or period drama will appreciate the sumptuous sets and the slavish addiction to detail, which all adds to the authenticity of the film. I actually quite enjoyed it, but watched in one sitting which was a bit much, and there are a tad too many coincidences, a bit like a Dickens plot at times, but for all that this is still a compelling and quite impressive piece of cinema.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not my story to tell... Jan. 27 2012
By Andrew Ellington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Thanks to my Spaniard friends, this epic masterpiece of a film didn't go unnoticed by me. It's truly tragic that films this glorious will most likely slip through the fingers of many Americans, simply because it has subtitles and because the distribution here in the States is merely a whisper. Honestly, if I happened to see this without the foreknowledge that it was worth watching, I may have passed it over for something more widespread. Instead, thanks to a few friends overseas, who happened to have indulged in this film months ago and have been chatting it up ever since, I scooped this up the second it was available on DVD.

Thank you GOD!

At four and half hours in length, `Mysteries of Lisbon' may be the longest film I've ever watched; but in all realities it is most likely the most rewarding. Without much background information (my friends were wise enough to keep details to a minimum) I sat back to soak in this film almost blind, only knowing that I was told I'd really, really enjoy this.

Lush, detailed, absorbing and atmospheric to perfection; `Mysteries of Lisbon' has no comparison.

A film that is on a grand scale like classic films such as `Gone With the Wind' and `The Leopard', `Mysteries of Lisbon' makes the most of its atmosphere by fleshing out its visuals with non-debatable perfection. The depth in the cinematography is outstanding. Many this year have been pimping the gorgeous frames in `The Tree of Life', but while watching `Mysteries of Lisbon' I couldn't help but be left breathless at the way each frame was perfectly staged to create such deep moods. The breadth of each space, the creation of near three dimensional shots thanks to smart focal points and the way lighting is used to illuminate emotional shifts; it all culminates into a fantastic technical achievement. The rapturous score (equal parts mood, sensual and theatrical; and astutely placed to effect the mood) is a total highlight, and the period designs (both in clothing and in set pieces) are not only authentic but inspired (the color pallet is widespread and eye catching, and those paneled walls are jaw dropping). The acting all around is great, with Adriano Luz and Maria Joao Bastos delivering haunting portrayals of their central characters.

And that script is just amazing...

Which brings me to the main reason you're reading this; what is this story about? Well, like I mentioned before, I walked into this seemingly blind, and I feel that the least amount of details you possess before watching is better because it truly is a beautiful work of art best experienced in full. Like my title suggests, this is not my story to tell (a beautifully poignant line uttered by Padre Dinis in the film) but I do feel compelled to tell you something. `Mysteries of Lisbon', adapted from a 19th century Portuguese novel, spans decades in unearthing the origins of a young orphan. Sparking a priest to tell him the truth, this young boy uncovers the truth behind his upbringing, his secret conception, his tragic birth and his parent's torrid love affair, spiced with jealousy, divisions, violence and passion. But, in finding his own truth, this young boy is subjected to the secrets hidden deep within others around him. It appears that everyone in Lisbon is harboring some dark secret that crowds their lives with mystery.

Using excellent pacing and developmental skills (at four+ hours, `Mysteries of Lisbon' is surprisingly brisk and `to the point' thanks to smart editing and thorough development of each plot point...every frame seems necessary), the late Raul Ruiz (this was his final film) goes out with a bang, delivering a crowning achievement on every level.

Standing ovation, two thumbs up, A+...just SEE THIS MOVIE!!!
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but not for everybody March 1 2012
By Peter Calvet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
I saw this movie based on the two disc blu-ray format. It was a pleasure to watch and was not "long" as many reviewers complain.

It must be said, however, that this is not a movie for everyone. It is a successful adaptation of a classic novel. Complex novels typically get a short shrift in film format. I would say that the best way to treat a great novel is to see it in installments. Charles Dickens wrote most of his novels as a series of installments. The same can be said of Camilo Castelo Branco, the author of the novel this movie is based on.

This movie will appeal to lovers of world literature. If you are comfortable curling up with the "Brothers Karamazov" you will appreciate (if not like) this movie. Even the staunchest critics admit it is gorgeous to look at. But the strength of this movie is the literary work itself. Yes, it is difficult to follow which requires effort on the viewers part. And the languages are difficult to follow as well. Whereas the main narrative is in Portuguese, there is a substantial portion in French, and there is a smattering of other languages including English and Italian.

I was impressed by the facility of some of the main Portuguese actors to switch back and forth in impeccable French. It helps a lot to be able to understand all the languages in this film, a feat that most European sophisticated audiences are capable of, but with some due diligence, patience, and effort it is possible to appreciate this film following the subtitles. Dubbing this film in English would be a disaster because much of the film depends on contrasting Portuguese values with French values.

But I wouldn't recommend this film to everyone. Especially those who think of movies as fast paced action oriented entertainment. This is way beyond entertainment. It is a thought poem. It poses deep questions about life, war and peace, forbidden love and so much more.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The labyrinth of memory Jan. 9 2012
By Robert Markham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Raul Ruiz's extraordinary MYSTERIES OF LISBON is almost certainly one of the greatest cinematic achievements of recent years, a sumptuous epic that marries old-fashioned story with decidedly contemporary storytelling. In bringing these melodramatic tales to life with such insightful visual direction (which pays homage to its forebears, films like CITIZEN KANE, THE LEOPARD and BARRY LYNDON), Ruiz unearths great depth of emotion and insight, exploring questions of sin, grace, and identity.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sprawling Tale of Love, Intrigue, Betrayal and Nunneries! June 15 2012
By Tommy Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is a Portuguese film from director, Raul Ruiz that is basically a series of short stories that are all held together by a web of connections that some could see as contrived, but actually works, that is if you can stay with it. The reason I say that is this is in two parts and actually lasts 266 minutes long that is 4 and a half hours in old money and is on two discs, so does require commitment.

Spread over Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil we have an orphaned boy finding his way in the world, a benign and caring priest who has more than one past, a street thug turned entrepreneur with a penchant for the ladies. A lady scorned, and a lot of running off to join monasteries and nunneries, which seems like a bit of a cop out, but was quite popular in the day so I am told. We also have an evil count, a reformed roustabout and some rubbish duels. There is so much here and it is told at a leisurely pace, which will infuriate some viewers, as we can have a whole scene where very little happens but moves the plot on at a somewhat glacial pace. However, it actually works as the pacing makes you consider what is taking place on the screen and affords you the time to fully weigh up the importance to the players of what can be seen by a modern eye as a pretty minor issue, to say more would be a bit of a spoiler.

With a cast list of to many to mention, the one actor I thought was outstanding was Father Dinis played by Adriano Luz, but there is not one bad performance. Lovers of costume or period drama will appreciate the sumptuous sets and the slavish addiction to detail, which all adds to the authenticity of the film. I actually quite enjoyed it, but watched in one sitting which was a bit much, and there are a tad too many coincidences, a bit like a Dickens plot at times, but for all that this is still a compelling and quite impressive piece of cinema.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant piece of cinema Feb. 7 2012
By Russell - Published on Amazon.com
Watching this masterpiece made me consider fresh possibilities for cinema.

The sprawling web of a story taken from the urban mysteries novel offers a compelling approach to plot that contrasts to the neat conventions of detective mysteries which seem tired in comparison.

The beautiful artificiality of the scenes, the arty angles, their odd foregrounds and slow pans created an enchanting storybook feel... I felt like a kid listening to a story in bed beginning to dream.

I like movies that are this long. They feel much more than an ad.

I do wonder if the hour and a half that must have been edited out of the 6 hour version contains some interesting pieces of the plot's puzzles.

RIP Raul Ruiz who passed away in August 2011
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