The Jester

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Historical

The top prize winner at the 1987 Locarno Film Festival, THE JESTER is a visually breathtaking debut feature from the 43-year-old Morais, with a puzzling style that falls somewhere between Raul Ruiz and Alain Resnais. The film begins as Heitor and Guedes, two former lovers, meet in a restaurant to discuss the recent murder of a mutual friend who had been...read more

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The top prize winner at the 1987 Locarno Film Festival, THE JESTER is a visually breathtaking debut feature from the 43-year-old Morais, with a puzzling style that falls somewhere between Raul Ruiz and Alain Resnais. The film begins as Heitor and Guedes, two former lovers, meet in a

restaurant to discuss the recent murder of a mutual friend who had been producing a film adaptation of "O Bobo," a 19th-century Alexandre Herculano play about the foundation of a 12th-century Portuguese monarchy. Within this frame, flashbacks are used to advance several stories, including the

deterioration of the relationship between Heitor and Guedes, the theatrical group's attempt to film "O Bobo" on elaborate sets in an abandoned soundstage at Lisboa Films, the extremely theatrical adaptation itself, and the murder of the producer who has been attempting to sell some weapons to a

criminal gang. The restaurant conversation between Heitor and Guedes continues on the soundtrack throughout the film, even commenting on the flashback scenes of their own break-up. This, coupled with the technique of using Heitor and Guedes as characters in the film-within-the-film, makes for some

fascinating, though puzzling, scenes. Filmed in 16mm and completed over the course of six years, THE JESTER is a marvelous example of total filmmaking--from visual conception to script writing to editing (by Jose Nascimento, the director of 1986's REPORTER X). The music is brilliantly conceived,

employing three Portuguese composers, numerous segments of classical pieces, and one brilliantly funny use of counterpoint in which "We're in the Money" comments on the producer's scheme to sell arms--a scene in which the former left-wing revolutionary's compromise of ideals is made frighteningly

obvious. THE JESTER is not an easy film to follow, especially if one is not well-versed in Portuguese history, but what is clear is that it was directed by a visionary talent who will surely become a force in Portuguese cinema. (In Portuguese; English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The top prize winner at the 1987 Locarno Film Festival, THE JESTER is a visually breathtaking debut feature from the 43-year-old Morais, with a puzzling style that falls somewhere between Raul Ruiz and Alain Resnais. The film begins as Heitor and Guedes, t… (more)

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