Though he has acted, directed, and produced several films, Manuel Costa e Silva's largest contribution to Portuguese cinema has been from his work as a director of photography. Prior to studying cinematography at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques in Paris from 1959 to 1961, Silva studied in Graz, Austria, to be an engineer. The year he graduated, Silva gained early experiences photographing French movies. From 1963 to 1964, he worked in Sweden. As a director, Silva's credits include Festa, Trabalho e Pão em Grijó de Parada (1973) and A Moura Encantada/The Bewitched Moorish Girl (1984).