If you watch movies solely for entertainment or escapist qualities then it is safe to say that this is not the film for you. Eugene Green's The Portuguese Nun tells the story of a french actress who goes to Lisbon for a film shoot. One night she sees a nun kneeling in a chapel in the city, in which this actress becomes enamored about discovering the story of this nun. The Portuguese Nun is a slow paced film that is really beautifully poetic, though it is definitely not for everyone. It's a very intellectual piece for starters and for anyone not familiar with Eugène Green work, his directorial style is very unique and does take some getting used too. Green is obsessed with his lead actress, Leonor Balaque, and I honestly can understand why with her piercing eyes. Green breaks the forth wall countless times, having many of the actors looking right into the camera. Green knows that his film is not conventional or what many would deem "entertaining". In the beginning when the young actress is checking into her hotel, she has a conversation with the man behind the counter about how french films are too intellectual and/or boring. Sure I could say it drags a bit in parts but its very pretty and features some beautiful compositions. The dialogue has a weird brand of humor at times, but it really makes you more than just an observer with its intellectual segments. The film also does a great service to Lisbon with his slow pans and static shots, really showcasing the beauty of the city. One scene towards the end of the film when the Actress finally confronts the nun is just about perfect. The Portuguese Nun is like a painting in that the viewer can get wrapped up in just staring at the images. It's a hypnotic experience through Lisbon that features sharp dialogue which is both beautiful and intellectually stimulating. I have a feeling that someone like Robert Bresson would honestly be very proud of this film. As stated throughout my review, some will find this tedious or boring, but as our young protagonist says while defending her film within the film: "I find it compelling" and personally I would have to agree.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.