The Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira died Thursday at the age of 106, as was announced by the producer Luis Urbano.
Manoel de Oliveira was the world’s oldest still-working filmmaker. Since the release of his first film in 1931 during the silent film era he shot more than fifty feature films and documentaries. His last three films were released between 2009 and 2012, “O Estranho Caso de Angélica,” (the strange case of Angelica), was his last feature-length film and was shown at the Cannes Festival that year.
He appeared as an actor in the first Portuguese talkie, “Song of Lisbon,” in 1933. But directing was what interested Manoel de Oliveira the most. After several documentaries he launched into feature filmmaking in 1942 with “Aniki Bobo,” a film about the lives of children in a disenfranchised area of Porto.
After the multi-part TV series “Ill-fated love” in 1979 starting in the mid-eighties Oliveira made new films at the clip of one per year. His 1985 film “Le soulier de satin” (the Satin Slipper), a seven-hour fresco. earned the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2014, as he was celebrating his 106th birthday and in spite of his declining health the director was keen on once again embracing his Portuguese audience when his latest film, a short called “O Velho do Restelo” (“The old man from Restelo”) came out in theaters. De Oliveira attended a premiere in his home country. A few days earlier, de Oliveira had received the insignia of the Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor (“La Légion d’Honneur”) from France’s ambassador to Portugal, Jean-François Blarel. This is France’s highest honor to be bestowed on an artist.
And an artist he was. De Oliveira, the crown in the jewel, leaves a great void behind him. Let his name be remembered forever by all who love and admire cinema.