With The Strange Case of Angelica Oliveira delivers his most direct statement on the cinema itself, offering a meditation on the promise and limits of film as both an artistic and temporal medium. Pointedly reminding us of the cinema’s photographic origins, The Strange Case of Angelica examines film’s inherent power to conjure a bewitching illusion of the past come alive, the dead resurrected.
Real or imagined Isaac and Angelica will live on together in eternity, Oliveira seems to be implying, our emotional correspondence shaped by his refusal to offer concrete designations between life and death, fantasy and reality. Like Isaac, he’s left us in the throes of ambiguity, our innate understanding of these events the only honest viewpoint from which to proceed forth from this strange case of resurrection and release.
[Isaac] puffs furiously on a cigarette, and Oliveira cuts to the smoke swirling through the room as it disappears before our eyes, slipping across the realms of here and gone. The Strange Case of Angelica leads us between those realms, taking a simple, strange tale of mad love and letting us linger with it.