Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura (Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl); Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 2009
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Eccentricities of a blonde-haired girl is its Portuguese director, Manoel de Oliveira, who was 100 years old on its release in 2009. At scarcely an hour long, Eccentricities… is essentially an extended anecdote. However, it is a ceaselessly reflective work befitting of its auteur. It is about a young accountant’s romantic obsession with the girl across the street (she fans herself seductively at her windowsill), an infatuation tempered financially by requiring the consent of his uncle, also his boss. Though the lack of camera movement may be borne out of necessity, it adds to the film’s mystique, disconcerting the viewer and intensifying the action. Some might find the lethargic pace slightly trying – the opening few minutes pass by speechlessly inside a train carriage – but it is an amusing vignette given extra bite by its surprising denouement.