Hard Times

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Joao Botelho's HARD TIMES, filmed in black and white and stylistically reminiscent of early cinema, adapts the Charles Dickens novel and sets it in modern-day Portugal. The story takes place in Poco do Mundo (World's End), the smoke-billowing town where Viana is a wealthy factory owner. The film focuses on the two children of the town's schoolmaster, who...read more

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Joao Botelho's HARD TIMES, filmed in black and white and stylistically reminiscent of early cinema, adapts the Charles Dickens novel and sets it in modern-day Portugal. The story takes place in Poco do Mundo (World's End), the smoke-billowing town where Viana is a wealthy factory owner.

The film focuses on the two children of the town's schoolmaster, who grow up to be played by Britton and Furtado. Britton is unhappily married to Viana, while Furtado is a rather irresponsible employee at Viana's factory. As is usually the case in a Dickens tale, the characters harbor dark secrets

and longings and are inevitably done in by their own duplicity. Scripted, directed, and edited by Botelho, HARD TIMES adapts the basic plot of Dickens' novel (one of his shortest) faithfully. Psychological subtleties are minimally but strikingly suggested by Botelho's symbolism and by the casting

of actors according to facial type. The somewhat-stilted acting, taken with the swift procession of brief scenes linked by voice-over narration, distances viewers emotionally and gives Botelho's film the character of a moral melodrama, and the modern-day setting heightens the film's didacticism.

Ultimately, it is the delicate wedding of personal tragedy and societal indictment in Britton's character that lifts HARD TIMES out of the realm of dogma and into that of art. (In Portuguese; English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Joao Botelho's HARD TIMES, filmed in black and white and stylistically reminiscent of early cinema, adapts the Charles Dickens novel and sets it in modern-day Portugal. The story takes place in Poco do Mundo (World's End), the smoke-billowing town where Vi… (more)

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