Mysteries of Lisbon

Directed by Raoul Ruiz

Portugal, 2010

Cornerhouse, 17 December 2011

Mysteries of Lisbon

An epic film, both in scope and length: it clocks in at four and a half hours or so.

The pace is meandering at times, but no matter since it is truly glorious to look at.  Nineteenth century Europe, and in particular the Portugese capital, is brought to life.  There is not one story but several, one within another, and altogether you can expect to encounter foundlings, fencing duels, grand love affairs, wild coincidences, men who reinvent themselves by becoming priests or pirates and women who die during childbirth or who seduce young men into becoming the tool of their vengeance.  And much else besides.

The film has something of the flavour of a nineteenth century novel (say Les Miserables); it is a world you’ll gladly immerse yourself in.  You’d be well advised to bring along a flask of gunpowder tea and a goodly supply of Kendal Mint Cake, mind.