A ilha dos amores

Paulo Rocha

IFFR 1983

  • 170'
  • Portugal
  • 1982

Scenes from the life of Portuguese author Wenceslau de Moraes, who spent a very large part of his life living in Macao and Japan.This makes A ilha dos amores (the island of loves) an ode to all the major Portuguese authors who have lived in Asia since the 16th century, thereby enriching their culture in an exceptional manner.

The film’s title is derived from a chapter in the most famous poem by Portugal’s most celebrated author Luiz de Camões, Os Luciadas. In it, he describes how after discovering the route to India, Vasco da Gama is led to the island of love by Venus, where he learns the secrets of past and future, the structure of the universe, about wisdom and to discover love. Camões’ work played a major role in overthrowing the monarchy in 1891.

Wenceslau de Moraes, who was born in Lisbon in 1854 and died in Japan in 1929, spent some time in Mozambique, then left for Macao with his mistress Isabel in 1891. Four years later, he left the south of China, his Chinese wife and two children to travel to Japan. In Kobe he became Portugal’s consul and married a Japanese woman. After the death of the latter, O-Yoné, he resigned and dedicated himself entirely to writing in the vicinity of the grave. He was inspired by his wife’s younger niece Ko-Haru, who also died after a few years. Between 1916 and 1929, he wrote his most important works in solitude, including Bon-Odori in Tokushima. The nine chapters of A ilha dos amores correspond to the nine songs by the oldest Chinese poet Chou-Yan.

Paulo Rocha
Countries of production
Portugal, Japan
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1983
International title
The Island of Love
Portuguese, Japanese
Paulo Rocha, Etsuko Takana
Production Company
Suma Filmes
Cinemateca Portuguesa
Paulo Rocha, Wenceslau De Moraes, Jorge L. Neto, Haneda Sumiko
Acácio de Almeida, Elso Roque, Kozo Okazaki
Sugano Yoshio
Production Design
Cristina Reis, Batica, Sakaguchi Takahuru
Paulo Brandão
Murakumo Atsuko, Paulo Rocha, Luis Miguel Cintra, Clara Joana, Zita Duarte, Jorge Silva Melo, Mita Yoshiko