Recalling the provocative docu-fictions of Abbas Kiarostami and Jia Zhangke, Our Beloved Month of August offers meta-textual manna for adventurous cinemagoers while remaining exhilaratingly true to its sunny, provincial roots.
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Despite its creator’s puckish charm, the movie occasionally sputters and detours down dead ends. Still, the promise on display is impressive; consider the film a calling card from someone to keep a very close eye on.
Gomes contemplates the many human dimensions wavering under the surface of this town, whether it’s the mythologies crowding a town’s gossip session or the tall tales flooding rants at a local bar. This is a collective voice of character rather than a dry document of reality.
Transparently a movie about a group of filmmakers who attempt to possess a particular location, Our Beloved Month relaxes into a meditation on the mysteries of place, personality, and process.
The whole turns out to be less than the sum of its elegantly constructed and cleverly uncategorizable parts.
Our Beloved Month Of August is a real one-off: eccentric and singular and cerebral: an arthouse event, yes, but also witty and emotionally engaged. I found myself thinking about it for days afterwards – and smiling a very great deal. Try it.
There’s neither pity nor sentimentality in Gomes’s populism; the highest strain of modern humanism faces up to the first person.
A tantalizing mix of documentary, fiction and everything in between (including music video), Miguel Gomes’ 150-minute love song to rural Portugal, Our Beloved Month of August, scores viscerally as well as intellectually.