Synopsis by Mark Deming
Portuguese filmmaker Raúl Ruiz directed this epic-scale adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco's historical novel about people looking for truth behind each other's facades in 19th century Portugal. Father Dinis (Adriano Luz) is a man of faith who often finds himself trading one personality for another as he serves different people in different ways. When João (João Luís Arrais), a teenager born out of wedlock and raised in an orphanage, begins asking questions about his parents, Dinis arranges for him to be introduced to his mother, who turns out to be a wealthy countess, Angela (Maria João Bastos). While Angela is married, her jealous and short-tempered husband is not the father, and when word spreads that she is carrying another man's child, the Marquis of Montezelos (Rui Morisson) arranges for the biological father to be killed and hires an outlaw named the Knife-Eater (Ricardo Pereira) to murder the child after it is born. However, the plan goes awry, and in time the Knife-Eater redeems himself; meanwhile, the unexpected connections between the characters evolve with the passage of time. Mistérios de Lisboa (aka Mysteries of Lisbon) was an official selection at the 2010 New York Film Festival.