Benilde, or the Virgin Mother | Chicago Reader

Benilde, or the Virgin Mother

Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira's first experiment with an explicitly theatrical aesthetic was this 1975 feature about a virtuous middle-class girl who mysteriously becomes pregnant. She swears to her family that she is a virgin, explaining her state as a result of “divine intervention,” and the film never undercuts her, although Oliveira suggests that the false miracle is somehow a product of the film's historical background, the early years of the fascist Salazar regime.

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