A portuguesa

The Portuguese Woman
His home is war. Her home is Portugal. Yet the young, newly married wife of Lord von Ketten is determined to make her husband’s family abode, an inhospitable castle on a cliff in northern Italy, into her home. When he sets off to battle with his men and tries to send her back to her parents, she decides to stay. Over the eleven long years he stays away, she insists to her relatives on their rare visits that this is where she belongs, even as they see the house as her mausoleum and lament her loneliness. And she does indeed carve out a life for herself here. She reads, sings, plays music, dances, swims and rides in the forest. She also rears a young wolf to which she is closer than to her two sons – or at least that’s what’s suggested by this adaptation of Robert Musil’s novella “The Portuguese Woman”, which is set in the Middle Ages and features magnificent costumes and opulent images captured by the elegant, gliding camerawork. The animals are positioned in conspicuous fashion, as if they stem from somewhere else, just like the figure of Ingrid Caven in a shoulder-less evening gown cooing songs or reciting Walther von der Vogelweide in the courtyard. Tandaradei!
by Rita Azevedo Gomes
with Clara Riedenstein, Marcello Urgeghe, Ingrid Caven, Rita Durão, Pierre Léon, João Vicente, Luna Picolli-Truffaut, Manuela de Freitas, Alexandre Alves Costa, Fernando Rodrigues
Portugal 2018 Portuguese, German 136’ Colour


  • Clara Riedenstein (The Portuguese Woman)
  • Marcello Urgeghe (Von Ketten)
  • Ingrid Caven (Wonderer)
  • Rita Durão (Moorish Slave)
  • Pierre Léon (Old Servant)
  • João Vicente (Pero Lobato)
  • Luna Picolli-Truffaut (Antonie)
  • Manuela de Freitas (Seer)
  • Alexandre Alves Costa (Trent's Bishop)
  • Fernando Rodrigues (Ferant)


Written and Directed by Rita Azevedo Gomes
Dialogue Agustina Bessa-Luís
Cinematography Acácio de Almeida
Editing Rita Azevedo Gomes
Music José Mário Branco
Sound Design Olivier Blanc
Sound António Porém Pires, Tiago Matos
Production Design Roberta Azevedo Gomes, Elsa Bruxelas
Costumes Rute Correia, Tânia Franco
Make-Up Raquel Laranjo
Producers Rita Azevedo Gomes Basilisco Filmes, António Câmara Manuel Duplacena

World sales

Basilisco Filmes

Produced by

Basilisco Filmes

Rita Azevedo Gomes

Born in 1952 in Lisbon, Portugal. She first studied art, followed by film and theatre. In addition to being a filmmaker, she also works as a curator at Lisbon’s Cinemateca Portuguesa. Her film A Portuguesa was shown at the Berlinale Forum in 2019.


1990 O Som da Terra a Tremer (The Sound of the Earth Shaking); 93 min. 1996 O Cinema Vai ao Teatro (Cinema Goes to the Theatre); 26 min. 1998 Intromissões: Parabéns Manoel de Oliveira (Intromissions: Congratulations Manoel de Oliveira); 55 min. 1999 King Arthur; 30 min. 2001 Frágil Como o Mundo (Fragile as the World); 91 min. 2003 Altar; 72 min. 2005 A Conquista de Faro (The Conquest of Faro); 33 min. 2007 A 15ª Pedra: Manoel de Oliveira e João Bénard da Costa em Conversa (The 15th Stone: Manoel de Oliveira and João Bénard da Costa in Conversation); 117 min. 2009 A Colecção Invisível (The Invisible Collection); 56 min. 2011 A Vingança de uma Mulher (A Woman’s Revenge); 100 min. 2016 Correspondências (Correspondences); 145 min. 2018 A Portuguesa (The Portuguese Woman); 136 min. 2020 O Ah! das coisas, 6 de Abril 2020; 2 min. 2022 O trio em mi bemol (The Kegelstatt Trio); 127 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022