Paris-based sales agency and production company Luxbox has sold the French distribution rights to 12 pics of the late Portuguese maestro filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira to Capricci Films, which plans to release the restored films in cinemas across France from 2024.
Expressing his pride at adding some of Oliveira’s best films to its catalog, Capricci’s Louis Descombes said: “We had long hoped to be able to give new life to the unique, mischievous and incredibly modern work of the Portuguese filmmaker.” The Bordeaux-based distributor aims to kick off the releases with “Val Abraham” in the spring.
Bringing back Oliveira’s films to French cinemas “wouldn’t be possible without the work of the Portuguese Cinematheque which already restored ‘Abraham’s Valley’ and will continue the digitization and restoration of the rest of the films in 2024, including Oliveira’s first film, ‘Aniki-Bóbó,’” said Luxbox CEO, Fiorella Moretti.
Inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s classic tale Madame Bovary, “Abraham’s Valley” was given a special screening at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight this year, which also paid tribute to the director with its official poster featuring an image of Portuguese actress Leonor Silveira as it feted the 30th anniversary of its selection at the sidebar.
The dozen titles acquired by Capricci Films includes the prolific filmmaker’s 1963 docu-fiction hybrid “Rite of Spring,”his dark marriage comedy “Past and Present (1972), romantic tragedy “Doomed Love” (1978) and satire “The Cannibals” (1988).
Luxbox acquired the titles from the catalogue of the late Portuguese filmmaker last May in a dealbetween Moretti and Manuel Casimiro Brandão Carvalhais de Oliveira, the legal representative of the filmmaker’s estate.
Born in Oporto, De Oliveira was once deemed the oldest active filmmaker in the film world. Making his first film, “Labor on the Douro River,” in 1931, he continued to make films for 84 years until he died in April 2015 at the age of 106.
Among his numerous awards, he received the Career Golden Lion from the 61st Venice Film Festival, the Special Lion for his body of work in the 42nd Venice Film Fest, an Honorary Golden Palm for his lifetime achievements in the 2008 Cannes Festival and the French Legion of Honor.