Manoel de Oliveira's "Visit, or Memories and Confessions": Magnolia Blooms Twice

  • MUBI
The ghosts did not take long to present themselves. Oliveira's seventh feature, Visita ou Memórias e Confissões, conveys a bevy of autobiographical musings on his family house and himself. Filmed in 1981 when he was 73, yet shelved voluntarily until after his death, Memories and Confessions has since become a kind of talisman for the director, an n+1 variable where the n is his 31-item back catalogue cut short last year. The first character introduced in the movie is a magnolia that blooms twice a year—first in "a rapid blossoming," then in the shape of "a rare star of maturity." Conveniently, the film's structure comprises just what the original title enumerates: a visit, some memories, a handful of confessions. The visitors in question are a man and a woman whom we do not get to see but whose voices we keep hearing off-screen. As they drop in at an empty house
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