Mysteries of Lisbon

2011 Drama

Portuguese filmmaker Raúl Ruiz directed this epic-scale adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco's historical novel about people looking for truth behind each other's facades in 19th century Portugal. Father Dinis (Adriano Luz) is a man of faith who often finds himself trading one personality for another as he serves different people in different ways. When João (João Luís Arrais), a teenager born out of wedlock and raised in an orphanage, begins asking questions about his parents, Dinis arranges for him to be introduced to his mother, who turns out to be a wealthy countess, Angela (Maria João Bastos). While Angela is married, her jealous and short-tempered husband is not the father, and when word spreads that she is carrying another man's child, the Marquis of Montezelos (Rui Morisson) arranges for the biological father to be killed and hires an outlaw named the Knife-Eater (Ricardo Pereira) to murder the child after it is born. However, the plan goes awry, and in time the Knife-Eater redeems himself; meanwhile, the unexpected connections between the characters evolve with the passage of time. Mistérios de Lisboa (aka Mysteries of Lisbon) was an official selection at the 2010 New York Film Festival. more..

Director: Raul Ruiz

Starring: Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira, Afonso Pimentel, João Luis Arrais


  • This enveloping dream of an epic narrative experiment comes from the great Chilean-born, France-based filmmaker Raúl Ruiz (Time Regained).

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    19 January 2013

  • I got a little lost while watching Mysteries of Lisbon and enjoyed the experience. It's a lavish, elegant, operatic, preposterous 19th century melodrama, with characters who change names and seemingly identities, and if you could pass a quiz on its stories within stories, you have my admiration.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    19 January 2013

  • It's a lot. But if you're at all inclined, it's just right.

    Michael Phillips - The Chicago Tribune

    19 January 2013

  • Ruiz, whose best-known films include his 1999 adaptation of Proust's "Time Regained," coolly roams the ambiguous territories between tragedy and soap opera, and between the traditional and the modern.

    Mark Jenkins - NPR

    19 January 2013

  • What is left is the sheer joy of storytelling, and willing audiences will find themselves caught up in a what-happens-next page-turner of a film.

    - The Hollywood Reporter

    19 January 2013


  • Athens Panorama of European Cinema (2011)

  • Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera)

    Fotogramas de Plata (2012)

  • Best Actor

    Golden Globes, Portugal (2011)

  • Foreign Language Film of the Year

    London Critics Circle Film Awards (2012)

  • Best Foreign Language Film

    National Society of Film Critics Awards (2012)