Cinema Short Takes: Voyage To The Beginning Of The World

A Poignant Farewell

The face is gaunt--ravaged but handsome, like a weathered statue--and the skull is nearly visible through the skin. The body is hunched; it needs a cane for support. Getting a first glimpse of Marcello Mastroianni here, the viewer is not surprised that this was the last film he completed before his death in late 1996. Was he only 72? He looks a decade older, frailer. A closeup could be like an autopsy, were it not for the actor's perennial ease and grace before the camera's eye.

But there is no ghoulish sentiment in the rarefied pleasures afforded by Manoel de Oliveira's...

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