Mysteries of Lisbon ★★★★★

A truly epic and majestic piece of cinematic art, and an unforgettable swan song by one of the greatest legends in cinema history.

Adapting the 1854 novel of Camilo Castelo Branco, Ruiz creates his most artistically ambitious operatic framework that encloses a painfully recreated world of the 19th Century, an enchanting capsule that works as an authentic time machine to the machinations of a world long gone that still resonates true emotionally. A truly splendorous and overpowering mise-en-scène told with the story-within-story-within-story structure of Wojciech Has and with the artistically visual and theatrical range of cinematic capabilities of Visconti's glorious costume dramas, Mysteries of Lisbon is a high-class roller-coaster ride impressionistically contemplating orphanhood, motherhood, romance, human impulses, desires, longings, revenge, irrationality, brutality, broken hearts, re-encounters, persona transformations, growth, resentment, oblivion, contemplation of the past, all social strata and spiritual reconciliations through a grand-scale scope that trascends generations without letting its theatrical structure to impede emotional resonance, like a collective private diary that is, for the viewer, a transparent stream of consciousness written centuries ago and preserved until today.

Featuring one of the most excellent and exhaustingly enamouring art directions ever conceived in celluloid, Mysteries of Lisbon overwhelmes with its grandiosity as a swan song that all filmmakers dream with achieving and some strive for having, with few achieving such mastery. It's a labyrinth of emotional sensations, splendorously filmed and with one of the most impressive and insanely number of shots/seconds ratio that you will witness in modern cinema, especially considering its mammoth-like length.

97/100