An elderly, small-town businessman's last will and testament holds many surprises in this 1997 Portuguese film. The estimable Mr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo (Nelson Xavier) is the wealthiest and most respected man in Mindelo, a small town in the
Portuguese Cape Verde islands. Upon the old man's death, his nephew Carlos (Chico Diaz) is shocked to discover that the family import/export business has not been left to him, but to a cousin he never even knew existed. Graça (Maria Ceiça) is Napumoceno's illegitimate daughter, and part of her inheritance from the father she never knew is a set of cassette tapes on which he relates the colorful story of his life and loves. The loves include an exotic stripper named Chez-Nous (Veluma D'Oba); Graca's mother Mari Chica (Via Negromonte), a cleaning woman; Dóna Joia (Elisa Lucinda), the bold, Americanized sister-in-law of a business associate; and Adélia (Karla Leal), the dewy 20-year-old who was the elderly Napumoceno's late life obsession. The life encompasses his early years as a smuggler, some lucky early business breaks (a clerk's error leaves him with 10,000 umbrellas, in a town where it rarely rains, but a sudden storm makes them invaluable), some self-serving charitable gestures, a foray into local politics and a trip to America, the land of constant reinvention. The man who emerges from these various flashbacks is capricious, petty, tyrannical and more than a bit of a pig where women are concerned, but it's hard to get a handle on how the filmmakers intend us to see him. Is the story's point that a hypocritical man's feet of clay are slowly revealed through his own reminiscences, or are we to chuckle at his lusty escapades and cheer his social climbing and naïve embrace of grass-roots capitalism? It's all a bit baffling.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: NR
- Review: An elderly, small-town businessman's last will and testament holds many surprises in this 1997 Portuguese film. The estimable Mr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo (Nelson Xavier) is the wealthiest and most respected man in Mindelo, a small town in the Portugues… (more)