Wednesday, September 3, 2008
|7:00 p.m.||The Cannibals|
Manoel de Oliveira (Portugal, 1988)
(Os canibais). Having already turned the rules of theater onto themselves in his earlier films, Oliveira aims to make opera literally eat itself in The Cannibals, the oddest (and only) combination of opera and cannibalism you’ll ever see. Working with members of the Lisbon Opera House, Oliveira has fashioned “perhaps the only genuine opera film to date” (Toronto International Film Festival), its libretto presenting the story of the lovely Marguerite, who’s madly in love with a seemingly perfect upper-class gentleman. Unfortunately, their wedding night reveals that the gentleman only has a head, with a pedestal for a body, a slight distraction that could prove vital for a scheming Don Juan character who has vowed that if he can’t have Marguerite, no one will. The Cannibals waltzes through its first acts with all seriousness intact, just like a perfect gentleman should, until a final quarter that turns opera’s intentions into a frenzy worthy of Buñuel.
• Written by Oliveira, based on the novella by Álvaro de Carvalhal. Photographed by Mário Barroso. With Luís Miguel Cintra, Leonor Silveira, Diogo Doria, Joël Costa. (99 mins, In Portuguese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Lusomundo)