As part of our acclaimed foreign language strand, Sky Arts HD presents prolific filmmaker Raul Ruiz's award-winning melodrama, Mysteries of Lisbon.
Based on the novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, the drama opens in solemn priest Father Dinis' (Adriano Luz) college for boys, where young orphan Joao obsesses about his parentage. When he suddenly falls ill, his mother (Maria Joao Bastos) visits him by his bedside and gives him a miniature theatre diorama as a gift. It soon becomes clear that she is a noblewoman, who had managed to sneak out of the house where she is kept locked up by her tempestuous husband the Count of Santa Barbara.
Using the diorama as a storytelling device, the truth of the young boy's origins is gradually revealed, including his noble mother's incarceration in her home and the tragic fate of her former sweetheart Pedro, whom her father had forbidden her to marry. As Joao searches for his identity, an entrancing coming-of-age tale emerges, spanning three decades of life in Portugal, France, and Spain.
Father Dinis' adventurous and tumultuous past is also uncoiled, as he begins to learn the surprising truth about his own parents. As Joao, who comes to be known as Pedro, grows up and begins to confront his future, the action skips to Lisbon's high society and a colourful world of noblemen, bandits, soldiers and merchants whose fates collide and lives intertwine in a tale of of bizarre coincidences, betrayals and revenge.
The last completed work by Ruiz before his death in 2011, Mysteries of Lisbon has been celebrated for its mesmerising camera work, visual tricks and elegant twists, as well as its powerful reflection on memory, secrecy, and destiny.
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