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Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)


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#21 Nick Olson

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 09:13 AM

Just to be clear: they only have the theatrical cut, or they have both? Sorry--the "386 minutes" is throwing me off a bit...

#22 Darren H

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 09:37 AM

Looks like they only have the theatrical cut. There's an extra two hours (about 110 minutes) built into that run time because the first section has been encoded twice.

#23 Ryan H.

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 11:16 AM

Looks like they only have the theatrical cut. There's an extra two hours (about 110 minutes) built into that run time because the first section has been encoded twice.

Ah, thanks for the clarification.

#24 Darren H

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:57 PM

So, Mysteries of Lisbon was my last film of 2011 and it's my favorite film of the year as well. I've only seen a handful of Ruiz's dozens and dozens of films but am now fighting the urge to track down every one I can find. Lisbon is the most impeccably directed film I've seen in a long time. Just . . . wow.

#25 Overstreet

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:29 PM

Well, I know what I'm doing tomorrow then.

#26 M. Leary

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:51 PM

So, Mysteries of Lisbon was my last film of 2011 and it's my favorite film of the year as well. I've only seen a handful of Ruiz's dozens and dozens of films but am now fighting the urge to track down every one I can find. Lisbon is the most impeccably directed film I've seen in a long time. Just . . . wow.


Looking forward to hearing more. It hasn't dethroned Traffik or Carlos as favored TV miniseries (though as I understand, this never ran as such...). It is the first Ruiz film I have seen that I have been completely on board with, though. Could imagine this hitting the A&F list pretty high in the future.

Edited by M. Leary, 02 January 2012 - 02:57 PM.


#27 Darren H

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:22 PM

A lot of great directors can orchestrate a complicated camera move. And a lot of great directors can generate drama from the mise-en-scene. And a lot of great directors can pull emotionally complex performances from good actors and a decent script. But I've seen few films that hit all three over and over and over again like Ruiz does here. I'm dying to see the full-length version just because I can't imagine it's possible for a director to sustain that level of brilliance for six-and-a-half hours, especially when this was just one of, like, ten projects he had in development over the last three years of his life.

#28 Ryan H.

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:30 PM

Could imagine this hitting the A&F list pretty high in the future.

Oh, I do hope it does.

I'm dying to see the full-length version just because I can't imagine it's possible for a director to sustain that level of brilliance for six-and-a-half hours, especially when this was just one of, like, ten projects he had in development over the last three years of his life.

Few in America have actually seen MYSTERIES OF LISBON (sadly). Fewer still have seen the six-hour version. The little talk I've heard about the six-hour version suggests that the four-hour version is better, but not too much better. Ruiz himself apparently said he prefers the four-hour film version to the six-hour miniseries, claiming that the six-hour series had too much padding.

Edited by Ryan H., 02 January 2012 - 07:35 PM.


#29 Overstreet

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 01:57 AM

Well, I made it through. Rough going, though, as a storm hit our neighborhood this evening which played havoc with our internet signal. What should have taken 4 1/2 hours took about 6 after all.

I wish I could share the enthusiasm, but while I won't hesitate to describe it as masterfully directed, beautifully acted, an astonishing number of persuasively detailed period sets, and just a pleasure to look at for every frame of its running time, the narrative didn't enthrall me. It's a web of intriguing stories, but none so remarkable that it ever went beyond interesting to compelling for me. The priest is the most engaging character, IMHO, and I was disappointed in the final act when he stepped out of the spotlight. The last act started to lose me because I just don't find Pedro to be very interesting. His history is certainly interesting, but he isn't.

So, it's a film I admire, but not one I feel any particular charge of excitement about. As four-plus-hour films go, I was much more involved in Best of Youth.

I won't need to revise the top ten list that's going to be up at Image in a few hours, but I will revise the runners-up list to include this one for its impressive achievements in cinematography, design, and scale.

Edited by Overstreet, 03 January 2012 - 01:58 AM.


#30 Ryan H.

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:57 PM

It's a web of intriguing stories, but none so remarkable that it ever went beyond interesting to compelling for me.

While I think the narrative material of MYSTERIES OF LISBON is pretty strong considered on its own terms, I think the power of MYSTERIES OF LISBON often lies less in the story than in the remarkable storytelling. But I must confess that MYSTERIES OF LISBON is very much a film on my wavelength. I am quite fond of Visconti's SENSO and THE LEOPARD, as well as Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON, all of which share some DNA with MYSTERIES OF LISBON. (It is a testament to my admiration for MYSTERIES OF LISBON that I am tempted to say that MYSTERIES OF LISBON is better than any of them.)

The last act started to lose me because I just don't find Pedro to be very interesting. His history is certainly interesting, but he isn't.

Not terribly unlike Sean Penn in THE TREE OF LIFE, Pedro is more of a vessel than a fully-fledged characgter, a point of intersection between all the numerous pieces of the film. But while Pedro is not the film's most colorful character, I do find the events in which he finds himself engaged fascinating and moving enough to sustain the film in those later moments.

And, on that note, I think THE TREE OF LIFE serves as an interesting film to compare with MYSTERIES OF LISBON, given their concern for memory and how that shapes notions of identity and narrative. Note also that both films conclude with images of mothers.

Edited by Ryan H., 03 January 2012 - 09:59 PM.


#31 Darren H

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:34 AM

I'm a formalist at heart, and I love it when formalists take on traditional narrative genres. This is why John Ford, Jacques Tourneur, and Douglas Sirk are among my favorite filmmakers. Visconti and Kubrick are two other great examples. At the most basic plot level, there really isn't anything especially compelling about Mysteries of Lisbon. But, like Ryan, I was just destroyed by Ruiz's handling of the many miniature dramas from which the film is built. I was never not totally engaged by the film because every few minutes there would be another camera movement that resituated the characters in their social world.

The blu-ray comes out in a few weeks in the States. I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time with this film.

#32 M. Leary

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:55 AM

Good news about a blu-ray. I would also like to see this again, but wouldn't mind being able to take it in smaller chunks. My life at the moment just can't often sustain films of this length, even if I used to really enjoy the discipline of sitting through something of this nature.

#33 Darren H

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 12:43 PM

Pretty sure I'm going to have to buy this.

#34 Christian

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:52 PM

My life at the moment just can't often sustain films of this length, even if I used to really enjoy the discipline of sitting through something of this nature.

Amen to this.

Is the film something that can be cut up into more than one sitting, or does that defeat the film's intended effect? I'm wondering how I'm going to carve out the time to watch the DVD once I get hold of it, and am thinking that watching it in chunks might work. But not if that kills the movie's rhythms.

#35 Ryan H.

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:54 PM

Is the film something that can be cut up into more than one sitting, or does that defeat the film's intended effect? I'm wondering how I'm going to carve out the time to watch the DVD once I get hold of it, and am thinking that watching it in chunks might work. But not if that kills the movie's rhythms.

If you're gonna break it up, I would recommend splitting it up into halves. (The film has an intermission.)

Edited by Ryan H., 08 January 2012 - 09:57 PM.


#36 Christian

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:11 AM

Is the film something that can be cut up into more than one sitting, or does that defeat the film's intended effect? I'm wondering how I'm going to carve out the time to watch the DVD once I get hold of it, and am thinking that watching it in chunks might work. But not if that kills the movie's rhythms.

If you're gonna break it up, I would recommend splitting it up into halves. (The film has an intermission.)

Thanks, Ryan.

#37 Darren H

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:52 AM

I'm sure seeing it all in one sitting is a great experience, but this film is episodic -- it was shot for TV -- so it handles breaks better than some films.

Edited by Darren H, 09 January 2012 - 03:28 PM.


#38 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:19 PM

I'm sure seeing it all in one sitting is a great experience . . .

It is, indeed. But I have to say I would have preferred to have that experience in the comfort of my own home, rather than in a movie theater.

Incidentally, the theater where I saw MYSTERIES OF LISBON was kind enough to offer the option of seeing the first half one night and then seeing the second half later in the week. I was there for the long haul, though.

#39 Overstreet

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:26 PM

Incidentally, the theater where I saw MYSTERIES OF LISBON was kind enough to offer the option of seeing the first half one night and then seeing the second half later in the week. I was there for the long haul, though.


I watched it all in one go at home, on a Macbook screen. I really, really wish I'd seen the images on a big screen since, in the end, it was primarily Ruiz' magnificent composition and mise-en-scène that made the film interesting to me.

Still, I keep toying with spoof possibilities in my mind, in which scene after scene reveals
Spoiler


#40 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:41 PM

Still, I keep toying with spoof possibilities in my mind, in which scene after scene reveals

Spoiler

So, essentially a Victor Hugo-ish version of this wonderful short film?

Somewhat related to this, I must say that I appreciated MYSTERIES OF LISBON's odd sense of humor.

Edited by Ryan H., 09 January 2012 - 08:50 PM.