Newest Reviews
Mountain Men, The
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Newest Articles
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
  Mysteries of Lisbon Don't I Know You?Buy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira, Clotilde Hesme, Afonso Pimentel, João Arrais, Albano Jerónimo, João Baptista, Martin Loizillon, Julien Alluguette, Rui Morrison, Joana de Verona, Carloto Cotta, Léa Seydoux, Melvil Poupaud
Genre: Drama
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 19th Century Portugal, young João is living in as an orphanage in a boys' school, and he is victimised by the other pupils for his supposed illegitimate status as much as his lack of parents: nobody even seems to know what his real name is, never mind where he came from. He is looked after by Father Dinis (Andriano Luz) who may be more aware of what the youngster's background is than he is letting on, so when João is attacked with a wooden ball in the corridor and has a fit as a result, once he is convalescing he has strange vision and dreams of a woman who may be his mother or may be someone else connected to him. Could these be memories of his earliest years?

In fact, could the whole movie be a selection of memories and therefore subject to the pitfalls of misremembering and hazy details unrecorded anywhere else, hence victim to the whims of simply getting mixed up? This was director Raoul Ruiz's final feature film before his death and was lauded all over the world, as much triggered by the thought a veteran moviemaker had crafted a masterpiece just before he shuffled off the ol' mortal coil as it was an appreciation of the work itself. It was certainly quite touching that he should be so highly praised just as he was leaving us, but it did tend to obscure the fact that not everyone was quite as bowled over with Mysteries of Lisbon.

Indeed, there were many who tried to give this a go, braving the four-and-a-half hour running time, and were rendered in a state of stultified boredom throughout, with nothing to appreciate but the attractive design, costumes, sets, photography, all that sort of business. Not enough to sustain a narrative that deliberately grew more muddled as more experience was gathered, to the point where you didn't know whether you could trust any of the accounts of intrigue as delineated by Camilo Castelo Branco's novel, particularly when it more or less ended in the way that any primary school teacher will tell you never to end your stories. That this may be part of the mysteries in itself was not enough to salve that ultimate frustration.

Not least because if you dedicated yourself to following all the strands of plot, it was an exercise in futility should you wish for a cut and dried story where everything was wrapped up in a neat bow, which it most certainly was not. Therefore you had a film where you would be better off appreciating the scenery as it went by, and noting the bizarre twists as they arose and were supplanted by fresh confusion, realising that enjoying the work scene by scene was not a bad thing in itself if you could lose yourself in the acting or the overall appearance of the thing. Not that it looked like anything much more lavish than a typical Sunday night costume drama serial, which not so coincidentally was another incarnation of this.

It was also available in a six hour television version, with different things taken away, added and moulded, so that indicated there wasn't even a definitive telling of the story by Ruiz, as if it wasn't convoluted enough. With its running time picking up and dropping a selection of sequences where characters would have some dramatic revelation about their past, or would take some drastic decision that would either end their lives or put them into a severely muted form (dedicating one's life to the church, for instance, is the kiss of death to any promising existence), there was precious little to latch onto in a conventional form. This may have been more successful on the page where the author can play literary games, yet on the screen it came across as rather perverse to resist the most obvious styles of cinema narrative, fair enough rules are made to be broken, but nobody said that needed to happen to the extent of making much of the audience suspect they were wasting their time - quite a lot of their time, at that - with the equivalent of a historical shaggy dog story.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 747 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith


Last Updated: