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Vale Abraão is a 1993 film directed by Manoel de Oliveira, and starring Leonor Silveira as Ema in the main role. The film explores the themes of love, vanity, beauty, and hypocrisy among others – all accompanied with a beautiful classical score, soft lighting, picturesque framing, and solemn narration.
The most interesting aspect of this film from my own perspective is its challenging ideas on what it is and means to be a beautiful woman. How does being the object of constant affection and lust, and knowing it, effect a person’s personality? In Ema’s case, the decision is made to fully embrace her beauty as vanity, viewed by herself to be something of a public service. There is definitely a love/hate relationship between Ema and her audience (the cast and us) and it is this quality that really makes the film special. It forces you to reconsider what is moral for a person in Ema’s situation.
Commentary is encouraged. What are your thoughts on this marvelous film? Or perhaps you despised it?