17

His home is war. Her home is Portugal. Yet the young, newly married wife of Lord von Ketten is determined to turn her husband’s family abode, an inhospitable castle on a cliff in northern Italy, into a real home. When he sets off to battle with his men and tries to send her back to her parents, she decides to stay., To her relatives the house resembles a mausoleum that laments her loneliness. During the long eleven years of her husband’s absence, she reads, sings, plays music, dances, swims and rides in the forest. She also rears a young wolf to which she is closer than to her two sons – or at least that’s what’s suggested by this adaptation of Robert Musil’s novella “The Portuguese Woman”, which is set in the Middle Ages and features magnificent costumes and opulent images captured by the elegant, gliding camerawork. 

Born in Lisbon in 1952, Rita Azevedo Gomes studied fine arts before turning to directing and theatre. After her first film, O Som da Terra a Tremer (1990), she wrote and directed several short films including A Conquista de Faro (2005), as well as feature films, such as Fragile comme le monde (2002) and A Vingança de Uma Mulher (2012), which was selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Rita Azevedo Gomes is currently an exhibition co-ordinator and curator at the Cinemateca Portuguesa.