The Portuguese Woman

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    The Portuguese Woman

    A Portuguesa

    Directed by



    136 min

    • German
    • Portuguese

    Drama, Historical

    A free adaptation of the novel Die Portugiesin, by Robert Musil.​
    In the north of Italy the von Ketten (Delle Catene as they are known around) use their Germanic ancestry as it suits them in order to fight the forces of the Episcopate of Trent. Von Ketten looks for a wife in distant country, Portugal, so that nothing will interfere with his field of action in the surrounding counties.
    During the long journey back home, the first child is born. But, when arriving to the castle, he’s told that the opportunity to defeat the Bishop has come! He decides to go to war! The Portuguese woman, against her husband’s will, refuses to return back to Portugal.
    Rumors are running about the presence of this ‘foreign’ he keeps in the castle. Some say she’s a heretic. Surrounded by maids and Moorish servants, she enjoys the company of her cousin, Pero Lobato, who pays her visit on his way to Bologne.
    Eleven years elapsed, between quarrels and skirmishes and von Ketten rarely goes back home. Until one day, the Bishop of Trento ends up dying and the multi-generation struggle ends with the signature of peace. Thus falls the background of von Ketten's life, to whom all that peace can bring is corruption, vanity and sickness... The Portuguese woman, who had dreamed of a land full of unexpected, sees a homeless, feverish, weakened man returning home. In this apparent end, will the Portuguese win where death seemed to be moving in?



    Clara Riedenstein
    Marcello Urgeghe
    Ingrid Caven
    João Vicente
    Rita Durão
    Pierre Léon
    Manuela De Freitas
    Alexandre Alves Costa
    Luna Picoli Truffaut
    Fernando Rodrigues
    Guilherme Gomes
    Mauro Soares
    Leonardo Mourmateus
    Adelaide Teixeira
    Marie Carré
    Dinis Gomes
    Luis Vilaça
    Luís Lucas
    Akira Gomes Da Costa
    Guilherme Lopes Alves
    João Doria
    Patrícia Saramago
    Nuno Rodrigues
    Agustina Bessa-Luís
    Rita Azevedo Gomes
    Acácio de Almeida
    Rita Azevedo Gomes
    José Mário Branco

    Director's Statement

    The reality is too complex, it is stories that give a shape to it. Life’s reflection is sometimes more interesting than life itself. Here, as in my previous films, everything begins in my imagination before it becomes my own life and stays in it long after the film is finished.



    The Portuguese Woman is rich and varied in its characters, and sophisticated in its challenging dialogue, which is peppered with references to great works of art, literature and mysticism.

    Marina Richter, Cineuropa

    Rita Azevedo Gomes

    Rita Azevedo Gomes


    Rita Azevedo Gomes is a versatile and independent artist whose enduring interest is in exploring new avenues of expression.

    Her career dates from the early 1970s and spans cinema (with Manoel de Oliveira, Noronha da Costa, Werner Schröeter, Eduardo de Gregório, Valeria Sarmiento and others) theatre (Chekhov’s The Seagull; Claudel’s The Exchange; Sophocles’ Antigone, Racine’s Bérénice; etc.) and opera (The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, La Traviata, Idomeneo, Platée, The Carnival of the Animals, etc).

    For over 30 years she worked closely with João Bénard da Costa, first in the Gulbenkian Foundation’s Cinema Department and then, after 1993, at the Cinemateca Portuguesa. During this time she has established a reputation for her graphic design work in film catalogues and cinema-related publications.

    Her films have been screened in international film festivals - Venice, Montreal, Bafici, Turin, Viennale, Jeonju, Doc Lisboa, Marseille, Cinesul Rio, to name a few - and distributed in Portugal, France and Spain. In 2014, Bafici organized a full retrospective of her work. Rita Azevedo Gomes works as a programmer for the Cinemateca Portuguesa. She also curates exhibitions and publications.

    Selected Filmography