Portugal / 1981 / 166 minutes / NR

Based on Agustina Bessa-Luís’ acclaimed novel, itself inspired by a true story that occurred in the 19th century, Manoel de Oliveira’s Francisca recounts the life of a young man, a son of an English officer, who lets himself become a prisoner of love resulting in fatalism and disgrace. With its gorgeous cinematography, gloomy interiors, and show-stopping gala set-pieces, Francisca is one of the legendary director’s crowning achievements.


Francisca premiered in 1981 as an official selection in Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. The new 4K digital restoration by the Cinemateca Portuguesa premiered at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019.

  • Director

    Manoel de Oliveira

  • Producer

    Paulo Branco
    António-Pedro Vasconcelos
    Jorge Alves

  • Cast

    Mário Barroso
    Teresa Menezes
    Diogo Dória

  • "A masterpiece."

    — J. Hoberman, New York Review of Books
  • “The obsessive love story that charmed and wowed the Cannes crowds.”

    — Richard Corliss, Time
  • “A masterpiece of modern cinema. A story of great subtlety, density, and emotional impact. It is as if Jean-Marie Straub has collaborated with Max Ophuls.”

    — Dave Kehr, When Movies Mattered
  • "Rich, beautifully composed images. Based on the romantic novel of a triangular relationship, Oliveira’s aim is to create a synthesis of literary, musical and pictorial elements.”

    — Ronald Bergen, The Guardian

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