New Project From 103-Year-Old Director Manoel de Oliveira to Appear in Venice

Manoel de Oliveira - H 2012
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The Italian media reports that "Gebo e l’Ombra" ("Gebo and the Shadow") will screen on the Venice Lido, where the august Portuguese director has been a regular.

ROME – Gebo e l’Ombra (Gebo and the Shadow), the latest work from 103-year-old Portuguese director and screenwriter Manoel de Oliveira, will screen at the next edition of the Venice Film Festival, the Italian media reported Friday.

The film, a historical drama set in the 19th century about a poor but respected patriarch who sacrifices himself to save his son, stars Caludia Cardinale, Jeanne Moreau, and Michael Lonsdale in the main roles. It is based on a period novel.

Venice festival officials declined to comment on the reports when contacted.

Gebo e l’Ombra will be the 59th official director’s credit and the 50th writing credit in de Oliveira’s film career, which dates back to 1928 when he appeared as an extra in the silent film Fatima Milagrosa, one of the last films directed by Italian film industry pioneer Rino Lupo.

Speaking at a photo exhibit in Turin, Cardinale, joked about working with a director with such a long career. “I just love working with rookies,” she said.

De Oliveira, who won the first of many career prizes 20 years ago in Locarno, is a Venice regular, having been nominated for the festival’s prestigious Golden Lion prize five times, taking him the jury prize in 1991 for A Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy) in 1991 and a career award in 2004.  He also counts seven Cannes Palme’ d’Or nominations to his credit.

But even at 103, de Oliveira is not willing to rest on his laurels. With the finishing touches on Gebo e l’Ombra still to come, de Oliveira has already started work on his next project, A Ingreja do Diabo (The Devil’s Church), which tells the story of the aftermath of the Devil’s visit to earth. That film is tentatively scheduled for release next year.