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Mysteries of Lisbon (Not Rated)

Portugese and French with English subtitles

Director Raúl Ruiz's masterful, epic adaptation of the eponymous 19th-century Portuguese novel (by Camilo Castelo Branco) evokes the complex intertwined narratives of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that plunges us into a veritable whirlwind of adventures and escapades, coincidences and revelations, sentiments and violent passions, vengeance and love affairs, all wrapped in a rhapsodic voyage that takes us from Portugal, France, Italy and as far as Brazil. In this Lisbon of intrigue and hidden identities, we follow an orphan, a countess, a wealthy businessman (who mysteriously made his fortune as a bloodthirsty pirate) and a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades. Winner of the São Paulo International Film Festival Critic's Award for Best Film, and the San Sebastián International Film Festival Silver Seashell award for Best Director.