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Portuguese man of war

By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  March 12, 2008

But the richest offering might be  ACTO DE PRIMAVERA|RITE OF SPRING (1963; March 23 at 9 pm), which looks sideways toward Jean Rouch and ahead to Abbas Kiarostami in its use of a northern village’s denizens, whom Oliveira has re-enact their annual day-long Passion Play for the cameras. Neither a documentary nor fiction, the movie is equal parts religious action, masquerade, Kenneth Anger–ish rite, home movie, dissection of moviemaking itself, and, of course, bio-pic of Christ, performed with sacred, clumsy fervor by hundreds of raw worshippers. It’s one of the best films about Christ, because it’s about devotion — its beauties and idiocies — on every level, and it reflects on the dramatic impulse behind religious feeling to boot.

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