Retrato e fisionomia do mundo em Cristóvão Colombo, o enigma

  • Maria Irene Aparício Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Keywords: Manoel de Oliveira, Portuguese cinema, portrait, physiognomy, total art


This article considers how Portuguese cinema questions the possibility of any cinematic representation of national identity. By exposing the subjective mechanisms and the artistic construction of Manoel de Oliveira’s Cristóvão Colombo, o enigma (2007), I argue that the film serves as a portrait despite being an affective landscape—what John Caspar Lavater has referred to as a physiognomic. Oliveira achieves this through the atemporal depiction of his own experience of the facts and fictions of Portuguese history. I also examine the Wagnerian concept of Gesamtkunstwerk ("total art") along with more recent conceptions of "impure cinema."

Author Biography

Maria Irene Aparício, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Maria Irene Aparício is Professor Auxiliar at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She obtained her PhD degree in Communication Sciences/Cinema at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She has published several essays on art perception, film history, and science, and she has presented a number of papers on cognitive questions related to film.