Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Sónia Bandeira, Fábio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho, Manuel Soares
Written by: Telmo Churro, Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo
Directed by: Miguel Gomes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Portuguese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 147
Date: 05/21/2008
IMDB

Our Beloved Month of August (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Fiery Romance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This head-scratcher comes from Portuguese director Miguel Gomes. If the film is to be believed, he started out with a giant tome of a screenplay about a girl, and her cousin and her over-protective father, but was unable to raise the money to shoot it. So the movie starts like a documentary about rural Portugal, with colorful interviews and great footage of local bands performing on stage. (They look like small-town fishermen, shopkeepers and beer-drinkers rather than performers; can everybody in Portugal sing this well?)

Then, at some point, some of the folks we've met begin to turn into movie characters -- a girl whose job is to sit atop a tower and watch for forest fires becomes the movie's heroine -- and we get our little story of illicit romance and other amorous troubles.

Our Beloved Month of August is a very long 150 minutes, and it requires a great deal of patience before it starts making sense. It's unwieldy and often frustrating, but ultimately quite rewarding. The final scene is so lovely and mysterious that you'll leave with a smile. The movie opens in limited U.S. release September 3, 2010.

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