Manoel de Oliveira

Portuguese film director and screenwriter born in Cedofeita, Porto.

Manoel Cândido Pinto de Oliveira GCSE, GCIH (11 December 1908 – 2 April 2015) was a Portuguese film director and screenwriter born in Cedofeita, Porto. He first began making films in 1927, when he and some friends attempted to make a film about World War I. In 1931 he completed his first film Douro, Faina Fluvial, a documentary about his home city Porto made in the city symphony genre. He made his feature film debut in 1942 with Aniki-Bóbó and continued to make shorts and documentaries for the next 30 years, gaining a minimal amount of recognition without being considered a major world film director. Among the numerous factors that prevented Oliveira from making more films during this time period was the political situation in Portugal, family obligations, and money.

In 1971, Oliveira directed his second feature narrative film, Past, and Present, a social satire that both set the standard for his film career afterward and gained him recognition in the global film community. He continued making films of growing ambition throughout the 1970s and 1980s, gaining critical acclaim and numerous awards. Beginning in the late 1980s he was one of the most prolific working film directors and made an average of one film per year past the age of 100. In March 2008 he was reported to be the oldest active film director in the world. He was also the only filmmaker whose active career spanned from the silent era to the digital age.

Among his numerous awards were the Career Golden Lion from the 61st Venice International Film Festival, the Special Lion for the Overall Work in the 42nd Venice International Film Festival, an Honorary Golden Palm for his lifetime achievements in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and the French Legion of Honor.

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