Doomed Love Screen 6 articles

Doomed Love

1979

Doomed Love Poster
  • In establishing the various familial histories at play, Doomed Love is initially incredibly dense and speedy, with establishing tableuxs and resets of the location by the score... Eventually, however, the film settles into a routine of endless dialogue delivered in the same few settings for reels at a time. Extreme claustrophobia set in for me, and by the end I felt like I’d been poleaxed by a truck. I admire the extreme conceptual rigor abstractly and personally couldn’t handle it.

  • Oliveira constructs a temple of words against a deliberately stiff, theatrical mise-en-scene, yet for all its abstraction, the film is astonishingly immediate and moving, driven by a prickly obsessiveness and a swooning romanticism.

  • Adapted from a famous nineteenth-century Portuguese novel of the same title by Camilo Castelo Branco, DOOMED LOVE is a veritable workshop of ideas about the incestuous relationship between novels and movies, and the diverse possibilities of literary adaptations. (In this respect, GREED is an obvious precursor.)

  • Like many epics of its time, Branco’s novel devotes much space to its characters’ interior lives; the film’s narration recites many of these passages verbatim, thereby challenging perceived wisdom about what is and is not cinematic.

  • In failing to revive the past or represent reality, the film must be content with its staging, always bearing in mind and being aware that it is merely a subjective version of the same reality. The duration of traveling shots and the fixed perspective of the camera give the viewer all the necessary time to carefully listen to, look at and reflect on the words and images being displayed. The viewer must be interested in the truth of the text and not in the mere facts as presented in the novel.

  • If that scene is emblematic of de Oliveira’s mood, Doomed Love is the Rosetta Stone to what he would try to articulate in all future films. At the epic length of 270 minutes, the 1979 film (the years-long gap here due to the strife of low-budget production rather than political atmosphere) captures love at its most nascent and de Oliveira at his most inventive.

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