Directed by: Miguel Gomes
Countries & Regions: Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal
Length: 118 mins
Released: 14 January 2013
Cat No: NW041
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Also available on Blu-ray
Miguel Gomes directs this romantic drama, which pays homage to the silent films of F.W. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty. Filmed in black... Read More
Director Miguel Gomes’ rapturously photographed, critically adored monochrome oddity establishes its eccentricity with a prologue involving a lovelorn explorer throwing himself to a crocodile, then subdivides into two parts. “A Paradise Lost” unfolds during late 2010 in Lisbon, where devout, politically active fiftysomething Pilar (Teresa Madruga) becomes entwined with Aurora (Laura Soveral), a demanding neighbour drifting into senility. This may be Gomes’ most radical conceit, demonstrating uncommon affinity with women of a certain age sharing stories and fears over tea and cake.
In Part Two, the wordless “Paradise Found”, we learn how the younger Aurora (Ana Moreira), a married adventuress, was seduced by dashing cad Ventura (Carloto Cotta). This section aspires to the glamorous textures of Thirties melodrama, even when everyone begins lipsynching to Ramones tracks that offer puns on the plot. What it amounts to lies in the eye of the beholder, but this gorgeously ephemeral work is never less than beautiful to observe: a measured, quietly beguiling retreat from our world into nature, Portuguese history, and the lingering mysteries of the human heart.