Watch Sostiene Pereira
- 1 hr 44 min
Sostiene Pereira, a 1995 drama directed by Roberto Faenza, is a film that explores the themes of fascism, freedom, and morality. Based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Antonio Tabucchi, the movie follows the story of Pereira (played by Marcello Mastroianni), an overweight and lonely middle-aged journalist living in Lisbon in 1938.
Pereira, a dedicated reporter for a cultural section of a newspaper, initially sticks to the rulebook and avoids controversial topics. However, the Portuguese dictator AntÃ³nio de Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship policies and its impact on his country start to weigh on Pereira's conscience, and he begins to challenge himself to do more.
The film's plot develops when Pereira hires Monteiro Rossi (played by Joaquim de Almeida), a young radical, to write obituaries of famous writers. Rossi's articles, filled with anti-fascist ideas, attract the attention of the police, which threatens to get Pereira into trouble. While his colleagues call him a coward, Pereira refuses to bend to political pressure and religious authorities, stating that he "never alters an obituary." Still, as the political climate becomes more dangerous, Pereira must confront his own beliefs and conscience.
As Pereira's relationship with Rossi deepens, the elderly journalist becomes increasingly attached to the young man, and his beliefs that fascists cannot be engaged with non-violently, puts Pereira in an ethical dilemma. Pereira's rule-following, indifferent demeanor soon changes, and he starts to exhibit a more rebellious side. The dialogue in the film is crucial to portraying the themes of freedom, free speech, and the responsibilities of the press.
Mastroianni's performance stands out, creating a nuanced portrait of a man burdened by past regrets and seeking redemption. The film's director, Faenza, creates a melancholic atmosphere that is superbly supported by an exceptional cast. Daniel Auteuil offers a strong performance as Father Antonio, a philosopher with a questioning spirit and who can be comforting in moments of confusion.
One of the most striking aspects of the movie is its production design, which beautifully recreates the 1930s Lisbon setting. The camera often lingers on the city's abandoned corners, rundown streets, and decaying buildings, providing a bitter contrast to the luxurious and thriving life of those in power.
Full of emotion and nuanced performances, Sostiene Pereira is a deep and thought-provoking film that successfully navigates moral questions in a sensitive manner. The film's narrative is tenderly intertwined with philosophical and political issues, resulting in a thought-provoking and poignant piece of cinema. It is a film that reminds us that the past holds lessons that should never be forgotten.