Gilbert adjusts to the tragedy by spending time with his beloved grandson and continuing his work in the theatre, including a role as Prospero in Shakespeare's “The Tempest.” He becomes comfortable with his life of solitude. His agent offers him the major part in a TV film dominated by sex and violence; wanting to maintain his standards, Gilbert turns down the part. He accepts a role in an English-language film version of Joyce's “Ulysses” offered by an American director (John Malkovich in a zesty supporting role). It soon becomes apparent that Gilbert's stage productions reflect his life.
Piccoli gives a superb performance full of deep feeling. Whatever happens to Gilbert, life remains a continual adventure with further acting challenges.
De Oliveira suffuses his wise and captivating film with a playful humor. Though the nighttime streets are dangerous, de Oliveira visualizes Paris as an amusement park with festive lights and music. Like his lead character, Manoel de Oliveira has a remarkable vitality. Starring Michel Piccoli, Antoine Chappey, Leonor Baldaque and John Malkovich. Directed and written by Manoel de Oliveira. Produced by Paulo Branco. A Milestone release. Comedy/Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 90 min.