Manuel on the Island of Wonders


Raoul Ruiz, Portugal, 1984, 152 min.

NOTE: This review was written 11 years ago (please forgive the amateur trappings), but the film still sticks with me this day.

This Portuguese mini-series is extremely rare. There was a translated version shown on Australian TV only once. If you can, try to find a copy of this broadcast. It’s worth it.

This three episode series comprises the adventures of a young boy. They each play out like a fairy tale. The mood is very light and dreamy. The stories are great and very unique. The first two episodes are fairly straight forward, but the third is quite hard to understand. It doesn’t really matter though, because the mood and the visuals are what makes the them so good.

Its hard to describe… the series is not action oriented, but it is fast paced. It left me with the feeling that, even though I had just watched it, I had heard these stories as a child and were remembering them years later. This is definitely worthwhile. If you ever get a chance to see Manuel on the Island of Wonders, do it. It’s a shame to let this series fade into oblivion.

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