Entertainment & Arts

Manoel de Oliveira, Portuguese film-maker, dies at 106

Manoel de Oliveira in 2009 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Manoel de Oliveira was one of the world's most prolific working directors

Manoel de Oliveira, the Portuguese film director who made his first film in 1931 and continued making films up to last year, has died in Porto aged 106.

Believed to be the world's oldest film-maker, he made more than 50 films and competed for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on five occasions.

The festival gave him an honorary Palme for "blending aesthetic contemplation and technological innovations" in 2008.

Gebo and the Shadow, his last feature, was released in 2012.

Born in 1908 in Porto in to a family of wealthy industrialists, Manoel Candido Pinto de Oliveira originally trained as an actor

He made his directing debut in 1931 with a silent documentary short about river workers in his home city and made his first feature in 1942.

His credits were sporadic under Antonio Salazar's dictatorship. From 1981 onwards, though, he roughly directed a film a year.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many of the director's films were set in his home town of Porto

His prolific work rate saw him become a regular at Europe's leading film festivals and be embraced by cineastes, particularly in France.

The Convent (1995), one of his better-known films, starred John Malkovich as an American professor determined to prove that Shakespeare was Spanish.

Malkovich and his co-star, Catherine Deneuve, would work with de Oliveira again on 2001's I'm Going Home and 2003's A Talking Picture.

The director's other films included Belle Toujours, a 2006 follow-up to Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour that caught up with its prostitute heroine.

His later work often dealt with melancholy bourgeois characters and had a stylistic formality that involved long takes and static camerawork.

"I think of film as a synthesis of all art forms," he once wrote. "I try to balance the four fundamental pillars of film: image, word, sound and music."

The director left instructions that Memories and Confessions, a 1982 film about a house in which he used to live, only be released after his death.

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