The Murmuring Coast | Chicago Reader

The Murmuring Coast

A stylish feature debut from Portuguese writer-director Margarida Cardoso, this 2004 period drama recalls early Bertolucci in its blending of the personal and the political. A young woman (Beatriz Batarda) trades sophisticated Lisbon for colonial Mozambique to marry a soldier (Felipe Duarte) who's battling insurgents. Her questioning of authority leads her afoul of her husband's commanding officer and into the company of his truant wife and a jaded newspaper columnist. As rendered by Lisa Hagstrand's expressive camera and subdued palette, the costumes, decor, hair, and makeup are like a time capsule of the late 60s. Particularly striking are the layered and reflected images that suggest the heroine's psychological awakening, as a fractured profile or swiftly receding figure evokes the era's upheavals. In Portuguese with subtitles. 115 min.

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