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Manoel de Olivera's 'Visit, or Memories and Confessions'

Manoel de Olivera’s ‘Visit, or Memories and Confessions’

First, let’s wrap Cannes 2015, shall we? Reini Urban‘s collected rankings from seven international critics’ polls and, whatever you think of the methodology or value of such things, eight films screening at this year’s edition have scored a 7.5/10 or above, i.e., “Very Good”—in order:

  1. Miguel Gomes‘s Arabian Nights.
  2. Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s The Assassin.
  3. George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
  4. Pete Docter’s Inside Out.
  5. Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s Cemetery of Splendour.
  6. Todd Haynes‘s Carol.
  7. Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Treasure.
  8. Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days.

An extra shoutout has to go to one of the polls Urban keeps an eye on, Diego Lerer’s “Apichatpoll” of over 40 critics from all over. There, several of the same titles jostle for position, but there’s a fresh title in the #1 spot: Visit, or Memories and Confessions, the film Manoel de Oliveira made in 1982; he then asked that it not be screened until after his death.

And it’s “an intensely personal movie, essentially a family album in motion,” writes Ben Kenigsberg at “‘It’s a film by me, about me,’ Oliveira says in voiceover as the movie begins. ‘Right or wrong, it’s done.’ Cued by an alternating man-and-woman narration, the movie is largely set on the grounds of a house that Oliveira tell us he has lived in since 1942. Part of the occasion for making the movie, it seems, is that he has had to sell the home to pay some debts.”

Watching Visit, Daniel Kasman‘s “thoughts again turn to that master of the memory of architecture and the possibilities of recollection, Alain Resnais. As the phantom couple visiting the Oliveira home take their leave from the house and from the film, finally stepping into the frame in the dusk-darkened garden as if exiting a cinema, [Agustina] Bessa-Luís’s text for them concludes that ‘we are not the house; the house is the world—our world.’ Here, at the end, we sense the home’s greatest importance to Oliveira, that the house is a confluence of its material and the life that lives through it, a mise en abyme that speaks of the outside world that contains it and that we inhabit. It is certain, too, that this home is the cinema, a house of records and objects, friends and family, visitations, memories, and recollections. Something beautifully personal to the individual, but that glows all the more when shared with others.”

Back to wrapping Cannes. In Spanish: desistfilmLumière and Transit. Individual lists of note: Geoff AndrewAdam Cook, Daniel KasmanBlake Williams and Alison Willmore. Then there’s the Criticwire network and John Powers‘s overview for NPR (28’03”). Publications: The Film Stage, Little White Lies and the Playlist. And the trades: Screen‘s posted its final critics grid; Variety‘s picked “21 Films That Stood Out,” while Justin Chang, Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas discuss the 68th edition and are then joined by Maggie Lee, Guy Lodge and Jay Weissberg for a chart ranking the top 19; and while Todd McCarthy looks back, the Hollywood Reporter picks its seven favorites.

The 41st edition of the Seattle International Film Festival opened the day after Cannes did and—get this—carries on running through June 7. The thing’s huge. Two guides are essential. The Stranger‘s SIFF Notes and Parallax View‘s 2015 guide, where we learn that “193 feature films, 70 documentary features, 19 archival films, and 164 short films: all told, 450 films representing 92 countries” are screening over a total of 25 days.

“The line-up for the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has been unveiled this morning by new artistic director Mark Adams,” reports Michael Rosser, who’s got it at Screen. “Highlights including the UK premiere of Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy, about the life of singer Amy Winehouse; the latest Disney-Pixar animation Inside Out; Arnold Schwarzenegger in zombie drama Maggie; comedy The D-Train, starring Jack Black and James Marsden; and a biopic of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Love & Mercy, in which John Cusack and Paul Dano play different aged versions of the musician.”

And Variety‘s Leo Barraclough notes that Edinburgh “will also be presenting a series of interviews with leading film personalities, such as Ewan McGregor, who will attend with his new film Last Days in the Desert, Jane Seymour and Malcolm McDowell, both in Edinburgh for their starring roles in Bereave, cult Hong-Kong director Johnnie To, with his feature Exiled, and cinematographer Haskell Wexler.” June 17 through 28.

Screen‘s Jeremy Kay reports that the 14th New York Asian Film Festival “will present Hong Kong director Ringo Lam with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.” June 26 through July 11.

“The Munich Film Festival is to pay tribute to Alexander Payne with a complete retrospective of his movies,” reports Variety‘s Barraclough. June 25 through July 4.

And from the Hollywood Reporter’s Gavin J. Blair: “Retrospectives of films by Orson Welles and Shuji Terayama will be featured at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.” October 22 through 31.

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