Manoel de Oliveira

Manoel de Oliveira                      
Manoel Cândido Pinto de Oliveira (born December 11, 1908) is a Portuguese film director born in Cedofeita, Porto. He is currently the oldest active film director in the world. He is already 101 years old! The only one of directors whose career began with a silent films such as "Work in the Douro River" (1931) to Manoel`s recent  work "Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl" (2009) which recently was introduced in Berlin. Since then, Oliveira has built more than 50 films. His work has received worldwide recognition, as demonstrated by many awards at film festivals, institutes and academies. Manoel de Oliveira`s  fabulous  creations reflect a unique and original life, which he shows in films. Being an exceptional athlete (he was jumping pole Portuguese Champion), racing, trapeze master, the River Douro wine producers and one of the most famous factories passamania Portuguese director, Manoel de Oliveira has always seen his life as an endless source of experience, whose origins lie in an extraordinary vitality of personality.

History of Portugal and cultural identity is often influenced in Oliveira's work. The relationship between documentary and fiction, drama film, text and images, sounds and musical independence, the same as human relationships are continually find in his works.

Directing career

Oliveira attended school in Galicia, Spain and his goal as a teenager was to become an actor. He enrolled in Italian film-maker Rino Lupo's acting school at age 20, but later changed his mind when he saw Walther Ruttmann's documentary Berlin: Symphony of a City. This prompted him to direct his first film, also a documentary, titled Douro, Faina Fluvial (1931).

In 1963, O Acto de Primavera (The Rite of Spring), a documentary depicting an annual passion play, marked a turning point for his career. This was shortly followed by A caça (The Hunt), a grim feature film that contrasted with the happy tones of his previous documentary. Despite the widespread acclaim garnered by both films, he would not return to the director's seat until the 1970s. Since 1990 (when he turned 82), he has made at least one film each year.

Oliveira has said that he direct movies for the sheer pleasure of doing it, regardless of critical reaction. He maintains a quiet life away from the spotlights, despite multiple honours such as those of the Cannes, Venice and Montreal film festivals. He has been awarded two Career Golden Lions in 1985 and 2004 and a golden palm for his lifetime achievements in 2008.

He is also known for vast variety of genres: drama, documentary, short, comedy. Furthermore he jumped to filmography as: director, writer, editor, actor, producer, cinematographer, sound department, miscellaneous crew.

There are few extracts from the interview(Euronews) with Manoel de Oliveira. When he was asked what keeps him going that over the last two decades he have made at least one film per year, he answered:

“There is no secret – it is work! It is doing something, it is a natural impulsion. My life is so complicated – I need space around me, I have so much going on and my house is small, and I need breathing space. I cannot seem to sort it out. I cannot either stretch time, or enlarge the house. That would take up precious time which I cannot afford.”

In his opinion the most important things in life there are:

“Knowing how to do things properly. Education is the most important thing. From the government’s point of view, the most important thing must be health. A sick country is nothing. But in second place must be education, and then there is art and culture, which go hand in hand with education. Knowledge is the very essence of humanity, and without that we cannot progress. After that, well, there is everything else…”

Manoel de Oliveira` s life credo is: If you stop, you die; if you keep going, you live.

The interview:


Trailer of his last film “Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl”(2009)

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