The great auteur, Manoel de Oliveira, born in Porto, Portugal, died today at the age of 106. I had the great privilege of photographing him in New York in 2002. He was almost 94 and it’s not ageism in reverse to acknowledge that he was the liveliest, most interesting person in the room. I think I expected him to live forever.
Preternaturally prolific, particularly after his mid-seventies, when he began releasing a film almost every year, de Oliveira directed more than 60 features and shorts. His first film, an 18-minute, silent documentary, “Hard Labor on the River Douro,” about river workers in Porto was made in 1931. Invited by the Viennale to direct a one-minute trailer for its 2014 festival, it became his last film, “Charariz das Virtudes.” Some of de Oliveira’s best-known films include “The Satin Slipper” (1985),”I’m Going Home” (2001), and “Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl” (2010).