Based on a novel by the nineteenth-century Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco, the Mysteries of Lisbon DVD unfolds on what looks like the most sumptuous puppet stage ever created, the occasional cuts to an actual puppet stage suggesting this might be the dream of a young puppeteer named Pedro (João Arrais), an apparent orphan in a boarding school run by the supremely empathetic Father Dinis (Adriano Luz). Buy Mysteries of Lisbon DVD to explore Pedro's life.
The Mysteries of Lisbon dvd box set is long — 272 minutes. It played as a miniseries in 60-minute installments in some countries. It doesn't hurtle through its plot, nor does it seem to dawdle. It immersed me, it wove a spell, it was very serious about its absurd coincidences, about characters who might almost be shape-shifters.
Adriano Luz brings delectable inscrutability to the role, conveying the quiet authority of a man of God and the plain-talking roughness of a thief. Then again, in one of his past incarnations, the good father might very well have been a thief, among other things.
Mr. Ruiz certainly solicits laughter with moments of weird comedy, some of which almost take you out of the movie. But even at his most playfully Brechtian, including when he’s making you aware of the artifice of the material — as in the introductory images of illustrated glazed tiles that directly allude to later scenes.
Through every twist of the kaleidoscope, the delight in storytelling is primary. The boy Pedro peers into a diorama of his life at its most confusing and finds beauty, if no answers. Ruiz is as uninterested in solutions as he is in hitting Hollywood-style beats.
Raúl Ruiz's final epic is so enchanting you may talk yourself into not noticing. Catch the Mysteries of Lisbon TV DVD Box Sets to the world.