FILM: Mysteries of Lisbon (PG)

Adapted from the 19th century novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, Mysteries Of Lisbon is an epic tale of intrigue and destructive passions, with a buttock-numbing running time of almost four-and-a-half hours.

Thankfully, director Raul Ruiz provides an intermission to ensure audiences have time to stretch their legs before the serpentine second act.

A 14-year-old boy called Joao (Joao Luis Arrais) grows up in a boarding school run by Father Dinis (Adriano Luz), always believing that he is an orphan.

Then the teenager learns his mother is the countess Angela de Lima (Maria Joao Bastos) and moreover, she is very much alive. As Joao grows and takes on the new moniker of Pedro da Silva (now played by Afonso Pimentel), he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, encountering his errant father Don Pedro (Joao Baptista) and a disfigured pirate called Alberto (Ricardo Pereira).

Released: December 9 (UK, selected cinemas), 266 mins