Director: Manoel de Oliveira
Year Released: 1995
Professor John Malkovich seeks to uncover some mysterious truths about Shakespeare's true heritage and encounters the Devil and people who like to read windy passages from Goethe aloud. It's hard absorbing the flaccid conversations about religion and immortality with all the embarrassing self-importance going around; not since Hou (or possibly Raul Ruiz) have I seen a filmmaker so convinced he's making some groundbreaking artistic statements with such unsophisticated material. It's also hard to concentrate on the countless static shots of dark rooms or mystical statues when the audio suddenly gets cranked up a few amps and it sounds like the Kronos Quartet on a coke jag. Malkovich and Catherine Deneuve are made to look like amateurs by the line-readings and lack of emotion, though I've been told that's Oliveira's M.O.