Don't worry, it's not as threatening as it sounds.
When Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich arrive at the Arrabida convent run by Luis-Miguel Cintra, the couple, divided by language and culture, also seems to be on the skids. She's just accompanying her husband who's come to do some research on William Shakespeare who, according to him (and he is sure documents in the convent library will definitely prove it) was actually a Sepharadic Spanish Jew with an unpronounceable name.
Deneuve is soon jealous of the time Malkovich spends with Piedade ("Piety"), the young library assistant whose beauty is always referred to as "pure", or engaged in philosophical debate with Cintra who's more interested in laying his mephistophelian charm on Deneuve.
Just when you feel you're in some sort of a drawing-room comedy, de Oliveira pulls a fast one: the dark, deserted corridors suddenly appear endless, the music goes almost horror-movie style, and the game will consist in toing-and-froing between myth-playing and sensual tease.
It's all the bolder and more merrily youthful as Manoel de Oliveira is 87 -- but you
wouldn't know it from his filmmaking, IF you just give in to it. Or else, as was the case
for Luis Bunuel's newly re-released "Belle De Jour" (also with Deneuve!) you'll have to
wait another twenty years to really appreciate it.
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