Eccentricities Of A Blonde-Haired Girl (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/08/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 64 mins

Watchable drama with a decent central performance from Ricardo Trepa, though it takes forever to get going and ultimately wears out its welcome, even at a so-short-it-barely-qualifies-as-a-feature 64 minutes.

What's it all about?
Directed by Manoel de Oliveira, the world's oldest living filmmaker (he's 101, you know), Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl is based on a short story by Eca de Queiroz and stars Ricardo Trepa as Macario, a young man who recounts a disastrous episode from his love life to an older woman (Leonor Silveira) he meets on a train. In flashback we learn that Macario began working as an accountant for his shopkeeper uncle Francisco (Diogo Doria) and immediately fell in love with Luisa (Catarina Wallenstein), a beautiful young woman he saw in the window opposite his room above the shop.

Engineering a meeting with Luisa and her mother Dona Vilaca (Julia Buisel), Macario is immediately captivated and asks his uncle for permission to marry her, only for Francisco to angrily refuse. Macario promptly leaves his job and takes a job in Cape Verde, eventually returning a wealthy man, but fate has a few more cruel tricks in store.

The Good
Ricardo Trepa (de Oliveira's grandson) is fine as Macario and does a good job of hiding the fact that his character is essentially a bit of an idiot (or at the very least is given to hyperbole and overreaction) until the end of the film. There's also strong support from Catarina Wallenstein, who has very little dialogue but does indeed look like the sort of girl you could fall in love with just by glimpsing her through a window.

The Bad
Despite the 64 minute running time, it still feels like de Oliveira is padding out the story, though there is an interesting meta-diversion where Macario visits a house dedicated to the work of Eca de Queiroz and looks at a collection of figurines from all of his stories (which, presumably, includes a figurine of Macario himself, though we don't see it). That said, the film takes a long time to get going and the pacing drags considerably – it also has a finale that, while obviously part of the overall joke, is still a disappointing ending, given that we're expecting something life-ruining.

Worth seeing?
Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl has its moments but it's also painfully slow and the ending lacks dramatic impact.

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Content updated: 18/10/2017 12:07

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