The Convent

on December 01, 1995 by BOXOFFICE Staff
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   Asked to describe his director, John Malkovich at Cannes compared Manoel de Oliveira's style to "primitive dream painting, alive for little flashes of the day." The aging Portuguese director is indisputably talented, but unfortunately there are not enough flashes of energy or passion to enliven his latest film. Worse, he wastes a tremendously gifted cast.
   Malkovich and Catherine Deneuve play a married couple who take residence in a convent in the mountains of Portugal so that he can carry on a research project. But pre-existing marital tensions surface when a nubile young research assistant (a stunning Leonor Silvia) and the convent's mysterious host (Luis Miguel Cintra) become frequent distractions. Using impressionistic sequences, de Oliveira is apparently trying to communicate the ambiguities of good and evil, but the tension is never enough to make either the story or the characters compelling.    Starring John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve and Luis Miguel Cintra. Directed and written by Manoel de Oliveira. Produced by Paulo Branco. An Amorces Diffusion production; distribution pending. Drama. In English, French and Portuguese. Not yet rated. Running time: 90 min.
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