Oldest director creates a splash at IFFI

Oldest director creates a splash at IFFI

Going strong

Oldest director creates a splash at IFFI

Manoel de Oliveira

Why? Simply because Oliveira is the world’s oldest living director, who will complete 101 years on December 11, but still fit enough to take up one more project even as his films are drawing big crowds here in IFFI.

Born in 1908, Oliveira started his career in the silent era, and have continued making films since then, even as generation after generation of film makers the world over have come and gone. A special retrospective honouring the Portuguese legend is one of the major highlights of the festival, quite appropriately, the demand for tickets for his films have been among the highest.

The retrospective kicked off with Oliveira’s French film “I’m Going Home.”  Among the other films of his being shown are “The Cannibals” and his latest film “Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl.”

The fact that the director decided not to visit IFFI because he is busy with preparing for his next film “O Estranho Caso de Angélica” in Lisbon seems to have enthused viewers even more, with delegates, many of whom have not seen his work earlier, just wanting to watch the legend’s creative output. Oliveira, who decided to become a film maker after watching Walther Ruttmann’s documentary “Berlin: Symphony of a City,” made his debut through the documentary “Douro, Faina Fluvial” in 1931.

He made his feature film debut in 1942, making “Aniki-Bóbó” on Oporto’s street children.  Oliveira, who has been given a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, has throughout his career shunned spotlight, even saying that his films had been made for the pleasure of being making movies and not for any critical or mass acclaim.