Viagem ao Principio do Mundo

Portugal, France

Synopsis

A Portuguese film director hires a French actor. The film is a Franco-Portuguese co-production.
The French actor's father was originally Portuguese, though his mother was French and the father died very young. During the shoot the actor starts thinking about his dead father. He decides to visit his father's village, hoping to meet a surviving aunt.
The director and two other actors suggest they accompany the French actor. They can interpret for him as he speaks no Portuguese. During the trip the director (Manoel) reminisces about his childhood in this particular part of Portugal. He mentions a character called Pedro Macao whose statue is discovered by the side of the road. This isolated statue seems to embody man's fate on earth: a lonely and difficult fate.
When they reach the village, the French actor's aunt is cold and suspicious. She is wary of this long-lost nephew who does not speak the same language as she does. She won’t accept the film director and the two Portuguese actors as interpreters and fetches her daughter-in-law instead. She is so stubbornly taciturn that, in his irritation, the French actor rolls up his sleeve and points to his veins, saying they share the same blood. At this point. Emma - the old aunt - melts and they start remembering everything they can about the actor’s long-lost father. They also discuss the hardships of village life and the staggering changes that modernity is bringing. In the end, the nephew says he would like to visit his grandparent’s grave in the local cemetery.




Director's Biography

Born in Porto in December 1908, Manoel de Oliveira first went to the "Colégio Universal" primary.school in Porto, then to a college in La Guardia, Galicia (Spain) run by Jesuits.
Nevertheless, he was not to pursue his studies and appeared to follow the path laid down for him by his family, working with his father. Indeed, during the long years when not involved in the cinema, Manoel de Oliveira devoted himself to port wine vinegrowing in the Douro region and running his father's factory.

At the age of 20, he was passionate about sport. He was high-jumping champion and even performed in a flying trapeze act with his brother. He was also mad keen racing, winning many prizes in Portugal, Spain and Brasil.

Filmography:
1997 - JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD
1996 - PARTY
1995 - THE CONVENT
1994 - BLIND MAN'S BUFF
1993 - ABRAHAM'S VALLEY
1992 - THE DAY OF DESPAIR
1991 - THE DIVINE COMEDY
1990 - THE CANNIBALS
1986 - MY CASE
1985 - THE SATIN SLIPPER
1981 - FRANCISCA
1978 - HOPELESS LOVE
1975 - BENILDE OR THE VIRGIN MOTHER
1971 - THE PAST AND THE PRESENT
1963 - ACT OF SPRING
1963 - THE HUNT
1942 - ANIKI-BOBÓ
1929 - DOURO, RIVER WORK
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Manoel de Oliveira

Written by: Manoel de Oliveira

Produced by: Paulo Branco

Cinematography: Renato Berta

Editing: Valerie Loiseleux

Production Design: Zé Branco

Main Cast: Marcello Mastroianni (Manoel), Jean Yves Gautier (Afonso), Leonor Silveira (Judite), Diogo Doria (Duarte)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Critic’s Award – Prix Fipresci 1997
  • Feature Film Selection 1997