dir. Pedro Costa, Manuoel de Oliveira, Victor Erice and Aki Kaurismaki , Portugal, 2012, digital, Portuguese w/ English subtitles, 80 min.
“Two of these four short films about the Portuguese city of Guimarães are by Portuguese directors, and they are standouts. Pedro Costa’s Sweet Exorcist features Ventura, the elderly Cape Verdean immigrant (and nonprofessional actor) who starred in his 2006 film Colossal Youth, and extends the earlier film’s triangular connection between the life of a beleaguered laborer, the mighty grind of historical forces, and the substrate of mythological fantasy. Ventura wanders through haunted underbrush and arrives at a hospital, where, in the elevator, he encounters the statue of a soldier—with whom he enters into a dialogue about the country’s 1974 military coup, the vestigial dreams of his homeland, and the enduring legend of revolution that survives like a secular vision of redemption. The centenarian Manoel de Oliveira’s documentary-based fiction The Conqueror, Conquered takes an aptly long and Olympian view of history, following a tour guide (Ricardo Trêpa) as he leads his flock of tourists to the city’s medieval highlights and delivers potted introductions in broken English. Oliveira offers a simple and rarefied lesson in vision, finding blazingly clear angles to reveal ancient wonders in a renewed immediacy, to look ancient heroes in the face, and to take their point of view—visual and historical, whimsical yet hopeless—against the undiscerning modern crowd”. - Richard Brody