I've just seen for the 3rd time this loose, referential 1993 transposition of Madame Bovary to Portugal's lovely Douro valley, by the now nonagenarian (and still amazingly prolific) director Manoel de Oliveira. Though the initial sublime relish of finding unexpected treasure can never be recaptured, i'm as convinced as ever that it's a unique and formidable masterpiece. Its 3 hour length, languorous pacing, sometimes pretentious conversations and often snobbish or unlikeable characters won't be for all tastes, but.. it has a supreme elegance, subtle irony and dry wit, outstanding cinematography (by Mario Barroso), superb compositions, decor and use of scenery, and- not least- a hypnotic central performance by Leonor Silveira as the self-centred beauty married to a dull doctor, who embarks on unfulfilling affairs.
Graced with Vermeerian serenity, and a rich but intangible sense of mystery worthy of Velasquez, it's as "rounded, strange and deep" as a noble vintage wine from the area's vineyards. One for the connoisseur (and who here is not?) to savour at leisure.