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The Green Years

The Green Years (Paulo Rocha 1963)
Original title: Os Verdes Anos

I'm impressed. This is my first Portuguese new wave film and there's much that I appreciated. Some might say there's little insight into the characters and their motives, but to me that screenshot says it all.

Dialogue and character deposition aren't necessary when the look in the character's eyes can explain more than words ever could...That screenshot perfectly encapsulates the emotional conflict of the couple.

The director intentionally keeps his distance from the story, as this is not a first hand telling, but a second hand telling by the uncle. Thus the lives of the young couple are seen as an impression through the eyes of the jaded uncle. I think that's brilliant film making.

There's been a lot said about some of the editing. Yes, it's a bit jarring at times. But that isn't a negative for me. I image shooting in the city presented special problems for the director with people walking into the frame ruining shots.

The cinematography: the way the camera moves, the way the director composes his scenes, the spacial distances and the angle of view...all magnificent. So many personable shots out of a window...and tracking shots that give movement to the story. Very nice.

A couple people mentioned the copy of the movie they watched had poor video quality. I understand how that can effect one's enjoyment of a film, it does effect me. Luckily I found a fully restored version that looked as good as new...and that quality made me appreciate the city-scape-cinematography. Much of the appeal of this film is the creative use of Lisbon. In a way the city itself is a character.

The one drawback for me is the ending, which felt tacked on so that the story could wrap up and the audience would have something to talk about afterwards. I'd preferred if the ending was earned by the movie's story and not just done for added 'flair'.