Oliveira turns 100 on set
by Vitor Pinto
Today, Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira celebrates 100 years on the set of Singularidades de uma rapariga loira. The latest film by the world's oldest director, based on the short story of 19th century author Eça de Quirós, is expected to be finished in time to screen at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival (February 5-15, 2009).
Oliveira regulars Ricardo Trêpa, Diogo Dória and Leonor Silveira join Catarina Wallenstein and Júlia Buisel in the cast of this co-production between Portugal (Filmes do Tejo), France (Les Films de l'Après-Midi) and Spain (Eddie Saeta).
While meeting with journalists last weekend during a break in shooting, Oliveira said the best gift he could be given today is the opportunity to "keep making films". Each one of his films, he added "is the best award a director can receive".
Oliveira's centenary celebrations started long before today, with an exhibition at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, which also held a retrospective of his work (see news). Born in Porto in 1908, Oliveira directed his first film, Working on the Douro River, in 1931. He continued making movies during the decades of the dictatorship but had to wait until the early 1980s to begin a continuous production, directing almost a film a year and enjoying a growing international reputation.
After Singularidades…, Oliveira wants to recycle an old project from the 1950's, O Estranho Caso de Angélica, originally on Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, now in a more updated version involving both Jews and Muslims.
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