It’s been 10 years since Raúl Ruiz’s Mysteries of Lisbon was released and now Music Box Films is ready to release the sweeping epic saga to the U.S. in episodic form. Music Box is set to release the film, which ran over 270 minutes, in the original six-hour episodic miniseries version with footage never before seen in the U.S. The film will kick off its virtual premiere May 22 with a two-week virtual engagement at Film at Lincoln Center in New York.
Adapted from the novel by the 19th-century Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco, the film sprawls across three decades, four countries and a host of rich characters — all sparked by one man’s search for the truth — and is filled with all manner of adventures and escapades, coincidences and revelations, sentiments and violent passions, and vengeance and romance, set against the backdrop of Portugal’s 1820 revolution.
The film follows João, an orphan in a boarding school, who sets out on a quest to discover the story behind his origins, his parents and his true identity. From this city of intrigue and secrets emerges a collection of characters who are all somehow linked to João’s destiny: Father Dinis, a descendant of the aristocratic libertines who later becomes a hero who defends justice; a countess maddened by her jealousy and obsessed with vengeance; and a prosperous businessman who mysteriously made his fortune as a bloodthirsty pirate. João’s questions are slowly answered—while others are raised—over the course of three decades and a personal voyage that takes him from Portugal to France, Italy, and even Brazil. But as secrets are revealed and João’s life begins to intertwine with those of the people he meets, he slowly learns that the truth for one isn’t always the truth for all.
Ruiz’s critically acclaimed film won the Silver Shell for Best Director at the San Sebastián International Film Festival and France’s prestigious Louis Delluc Prize.
In addition to the Film at Lincoln Center in New York, it will virtually open via Music Box’s StreamLocal in Los Angeles at Laemmle Theater; Chicago at Music Box Theater; Seattle at SIFF more, among others. Music Box’s StreamLocal launched in response to COVID-19’s effect on independent art house cinemas around the country.
It will then be available nationwide July via Music Box’s streaming platform Music Box Direct, the streaming platform of Music Box Films and Doppelgänger Releasing.