In the writer's word, the Mysteries of Lisbon is a cataloguing of a time, a time that exists only in cinema.
Actually, Mysteries of Lisbon which is based on an 1854 novel by Portuguese writer Camilo Castelo Branco, and follows the interlocking travails of aristocrats during the Portuguese civil wars -- was originally intended as TV soap opera, and a six-hour version was shown on European television.
While the movie’s main story follows Joao, a boy without parents proper, as he grows under the tutelage of one Father Dinis—a shape-shifter of sorts who saves Joao more than once from certain doom and damnation (as the priest does with other people that cross his path)—the plot is anything but a straightforward bildungsroman.
The Mysteries of Lisbon DVD opens with the epigraph, "This story is not my child or my godchild. It is a diary of suffering." That makes the story sound gloomier than it is, though there is lots of doomed romance, selfish behavior and cruel scheming.
The narrator in Mysteries of Lisbon box set ponders the infinity of the depository for tomes, which could be used to describe the movie, one with no clear beginning and no clear end: “The Library is a sphere whose exact centre is any one of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible.”
The film was shot digitally, but the hand of digital cleanup still appears to have been applied too heavily in spots. Thankfully, these details aren’t overwhelming, and it’s easy to forget about them as the film proceeds. The film is split into two parts on separate Blu-ray discs.
Though it provides an extraordinary capper to Ruiz’s great career, it’s flat-out tragic that Lisbon tv series dvds for sale was to be his last film to see completion prior to his death.