Os Maias: Cenas da Vida Romântica
A faithful adaptation of the seminal XIX century story, but poor in production values and plot. The important plot beats are presented in a matter-of-fact way, for such emotionally powerful moments.
The story was written in the late 19 century by Eça de Queirós, a member of the very same posh upper class he savagely criticises, and it is mandatory reading in high school so everyone knows it (at least the Cliff’s Notes).
It is a sprawling tale, spanning 3 generations of old money in the Portuguese constitutional monarchy.
The elder paterfamilias is the bedrock on which everyone else is supported, and remains alive through the whole thing. His wife dies soon, and his only son marries other landed girl, and they have 2 children, one male and one female.
Said landed girl elopes with an Italian when they are young, taking the little girl Maria with them. Her husband gets so depressed he kills himself, so little Carlos is raised by his grandfather.
Like most dandy idle youngsters of his age, his life a spent in clubs, opera or in each other’s private rooms, chatting over woman, philosophy, but mostly woman. After talking about them, they visit them, either by spending coin or by seducing married ladies.
Eventually, one particular woman catches his fancy, married of course, but courtship goes well and they consummate their relationship. After their relationship is already semi-public, her husband reveals she was merely a harlot he has picked up in Paris, taken in for pity of her child. This rocks their lust, but love remains and that is easily overcome.
Out of nowhere, comes an old man, familiar with her mother, that kept some letters in which she is revealed to be his sister. Affected by this revelation, Carlos runs to tell her, but he can’t, so they have sex once again. Their grandfather dies of disgust over this whole situation. Only then he send her the letters and runs away on a trip to the Far East.
Maria is destroyed for years, but eventually remarries, while Carlos returns to his old life 10 years later, finding his old house symbolically in tatters.