Cover for Johnson: Manoel de Oliveira. Click for larger image

Manoel de Oliveira

Understanding the iconoclastic work of a lifelong cinematic pioneer

With a career spanning seventy-five years, Portuguese film director Manoel de Oliveira may be the oldest active filmmaker in the world today. Known for his distinctive formal techniques and philosophical treatment of themes such as frustrated love, aging, nationhood, evil, and divine grace, the director's work has run consistently against the mainstream. Focusing primarily on his feature films, Randal Johnson navigates Oliveira's massive oeuvre, locating his work within the broader context of Portuguese and European cinema. He also discusses historical and political influences on Oliveira's work, particularly Portugal's transformation from dictatorship to social democracy.

The first book in English to examine the iconoclastic work of this lifelong cinematic pioneer, this volume examines multiple aspects of the director's conception of film language. Ranging from early concerns with cinematic specificity to hybrid discourses that suggest a tenuous line between film and theater on the one hand, and between fiction and documentary on the other, Oliveira's work is consistently in dialogue with literary and theatrical texts. Johnson's analysis of one of the cinema's greatest and most prolific artists will be of keen interest to students and scholars of modern European film and literature.

"An aristocratic provocateur who most often comes up with aggressively eccentric but beautifully logical ways of adapting plays and novels, this 19th-century modernist needs an erudite explicator and finds one in Johnson."--Film Comment

"[A] comprehensive and informative critical evaluation of the Portuguese filmmaker's body of work."--Strictly Film School

"A superb job. Johnson's cogent film-by-film analysis of Oliveira's huge opus expertly interweaves discussions of complex thematic interests with acute observations on the director's innovative and highly experimental film style. He provides important information about Oliveira's various source texts, his unique approach to adaptation, and his fascination with religious and philosophical questions."--Darlene J. Sadlier, author of Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Randal Johnson is professor of Luso-Brazilian literature and culture and director of the Latin American Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Cinema Novo x 5: Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Film and other books.

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