Manoel de Oliveira was born in Oporto, on December 12, 1908. He became interested in film at a young age thanks to his father, who took him to see Charlie Chaplin and Max Linder movies, arousing his interest in the seventh art. At twenty, he enrolled in the School of Film Actors, founded by Rino Lupo, participating as a supporting actor in a film of that director, Fátima Milagrosa (1928).
By this time, he bought a Kinamo machine and began filming Douro, Faina Fluvial, with an amateur photographer, António Mendes.
In September 21, 1931 premiered the mute version of Douro, Faina Fluvial at V International Congress of Criticism, which sparked violent reactions of Portuguese critics and applauses from foreigners. That criticism would follow Manoel de Oliveira´s work throughout his life.
In 1940 featured his first film, Aniki Bóbó.
Manoel de Oliveira's Acclaim
The sixties took Manoel de Oliveira to an international level: Tribute at the Locarno Film Festival, in 1964, and exhibition of his work in the Henri Langlois Cinematheque - Paris 1965.
The film Os Canibais was exhibit in 1988 at Cannes Film Festival.
In 1990, the same Festival exhibited Non ou a Vã Glória de Mandar, which earned a special mention of the official jury. The honors succeeded and, in 1995, the Portuguese Society of Authors offered him the Career Award.
His work is praised by some, by others is heavily criticized. The criticism is centered on the films structure and the slowness with which the action unfolds. He gives more importance to the words and content than the acts. The camera rarely moves, and when it does, are subtle movements to show an object and the body movements of the actor who speaks. Everything is meticulously staged in order the viewer does not get distracted by details, grabbing him to the story.
The complete picture of Manoel de Oliveira remains for us to see in an autobiographical documentary: The Visit - Memoirs and confessions, made in 1982, but to be exhibit only after his death, by express desire of the director.