Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Manoel de Oliveira wrote and directed this historical drama about the lives of some of his wife's ancestors who were active in the first half of the 19th century. In order to put across this slower-paced era before automobiles, planes, instant television and radio news, and computers, Oliveira uses a series of tableaus to emphasize the drama of each setting and the lifestyle of the protagonists. The feckless, wealthy Jose Augusto (Diogo Doria) and Fanny Owen (Teresa Meneses), a young English woman, are attracted to each other. A perennial love triangle is created when the author Camilo Castelo Branco (Mario Barroso) also falls in love with Fanny (Francisca), but is placed in a bind because he is a friend of Jose Augusto. In the end Fanny opts for the wealthy young man, and Camilo (who would eventually die by suicide) loses the love of his life. Now that the rich young man has succeeded in the chase, he has no interest in the result, and he and Fanny are married by proxy. Although she goes to live in his mansion, he does not stay with her and she is left alone -- and untouched. The triangle has come apart, and Fanny and Camilo have been separated, almost by the whim of the rich and disinterested Jose Augusto.
friendship, love-triangle, marriage, suicide, wealth, writing