Lines of Wellington

Les Lignes de Wellington

A film by Valeria Sarmiento

Starring Nuno Lopes, Adriano Luz, Marisa Paredes, John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Mathieu Amalric, Melvil Poupaud

On September 27, 1810, the French troops commanded by Marshal Massena, were defeated in the Serra do Buçaco by the Anglo-Portuguese army of general Wellington.Despite the victory, Portuguese and British are forced to retreat from the enemy, numerically superior, in order to attract them to Torres Vedras, where Wellington had built fortified lines hardly surmountable.Simultaneously, the Anglo-Portuguese command organizes the evacuation of the entire territory between the battlefield and the lines of Torres Vedras, a gigantic burned land operation, which prevents the French from collecting supplies. 

This is the setting for the adventures of a multitude of characters from all social backgrounds - soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, young and old - to the daily routine torn by war and dragged through hills and valleys, between ruined villages, charred forests and devastated crops.

Highly persecuted by the French, already tormented by an unmerciful weather, the mass of fugitives continues to move forward clenching the teeth, just to save their skin, loaded with tenacious will to resist the invaders and retreat them from their country. Or even hoping to take advantage of the disarray to satisfy their basic instincts.

All of them, whatever nature or motivations - the idealistic young lieutenant Pedro de Alencar, Clarissa Warren, the malicious little english girl, the shady dealer Penabranca, the vindictive Sergeant Francisco Xavier or the lusty prostitute Martírio -, all gather by different paths to the lines of Torres, where the final battle will decide the fate of each one of them.

Release date

Available in
Blu-ray, DVD Digipack and DVD



• Making of
• Extract from the TV series
• Interviews with actors (Melvil Poupaud, Soraia Chaves, Elsa Zylberstein, • Carlotta Cotta)
• Documentary "The Lines of Torres Vedras"
• Production Companies


Portuguese, French and English


Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian

Disc features:

151 min | BLU-RAY | 1080p High Definition 16: 9 (2.40: 1) | Color | Sound 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio | GENERAL AUDIENCE



DVD Digipack


• Making of
• Extract from the TV series
• Interviews with actors (Melvil Poupaud, Soraia Chaves, Elsa Zylberstein, • Carlotta Cotta)
• Documentary "The Lines of Torres Vedras"
• Production Companies


Portuguese, French and English


Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian

Disc features:

151 min | DVD 9 | PAL | Screen 16/9 compatible 4/3 | 2.40: 1 | Color | 5.1 Dolby Digital | GENERAL AUDIENCE







Portuguese, French and English


Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian

Disc features:

151 min | DVD 9 | PAL | Screen 16/9 compatible 4/3 | 2.40: 1 | Color | 5.1 Dolby Digital | GENERAL AUDIENCE




Nuno Lopes - Sergeant Francisco Xavier

Soraia Chaves - Martírio
Marisa Paredes - D. Filipa Sanches
John Malkovich - General Wellington
Carloto Cotta - Lieutenant Pedro de Alencar
Victoria Guerra - Clarissa Warren     
Marcello Urgeghe - Major Jonathan Foster     
Jemima West - Maureen     
Afonso Pimentel - Zé Maria     
Miguel Borges - Manuel Pena Branca
Mathieu Amalric - General Baron de Marbot     
Melvil Poupaud - Marshal Masséna     
Filipe Vargas - Vicente de Almeida     
Adriano Luz - Bordalo     
João Luís Arrais - Young Autist
Elsa Zylberstein - Sister Cordélia     
Vincent Perez - Lévêque     
Albano Jerónimo - Abbot     
Joana de Verona - Brites     
Gonçalo Waddington - Nurse Eusébio, Zanaga, Spy

With friendly complicity of
Catherine Deneuve - Severina     
Isabelle Huppert - Cosima Pia     
Michel Piccoli - Léopold Schweitzer     
Chiara Mastroianni - Hussar     
Malik Zidi - Octave de Ségur    
Maria João Bastos - Maria de Jesus     
Paulo Pires - Alberto


Manuel Wiborg - Ti Miguel
José Meireles - Peasant
Diogo Dória - Old Peasant
Rita Martins - Peasant
Lucrèce Carmignac - Young Maid
Francis Braddell Dawson - Peter Warren
Pedro Ferreira - Afonso
João Villas Boas - Cape Percy
Elmano Sancho - French Lieutenant
Miguel Monteiro - Capitan Saavedra
Dmitry Bogomolov - Polish
Pedro Lacerda - French Soldier
João Saboga - Leader
Ricardo Aibéo - Sentinel
Victor Gonçalves - Helper
Chris Murphy - English Soldier


Directed by Valeria Sarmiento
Produced by Paulo Branco
Script: Carlos Saboga
Photography: André Szankowski
Art Direction: Isabel Branco
Production Manager: Ana Pinhão Moura
1st Assistant Direction: João Pinhão Moura
Sound: Ricardo Leal, António Lopes and Miguel Martins
Music: Jorge Arriagada
Editing: Valeria Sarmiento and Luca Alverdi
Produced by Alfama Films
France 3 Cinéma
With the participation of ARTE France
Canal +
France Télévisions
Clap Filmes
Câmara Municipal de Torres Vedras

In association with Cofinova 8
With the support of MEDIA

Nuno Lopes

Winner of the Portuguese Golden Globe for his performance in "Alice", Nuno Lopes was also selected as a Shooting Star at the Berlinale for his extraordinary performance. Alongside his work in theatre and television, Nuno Lopes has built an important career in Cinema. From his filmography stand out his participations in "Moonfish and Lent", by José Álvaro Morais, "Tonight", by Werner Schroeter, and "Goodnight Irene", by Paolo Marinou-Blanco. Recently, he joined the cast of Bruno de Almeida’s "Operation Autumn".

Elsa Zylberstein

In 1993, Elsa Zylberstein won the prestigious Romy Schneider Award, given to the most promising actresses in French cinema. She stood out since the beginning of her career, in particular for her performance in Maurice Pialat’s "Van Gogh", which afforded her a Cesar Award nomination for Best Promising Actress. Zylberstein’s magnetism attracted several world renowned directors, such as James Ivory, Jacques Doillon, Werner Schroeter, Chantal Akerman and Raúl Ruiz. The Chilean filmmaker has directed her in several films like "Time Regained" and "That Day", among others. In 2003, she won the Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Philippe Claudel’s film "I've Loved You So Long".

Vincent Perez

In 1992, Perez won the Jean Gabin Prize (given to the most promising actors of French Cinema) and is nowadays one of the most familiar faces of the country, with frequent participations in international productions. "Cyrano de Bergerac", directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, and "Indochina", directed by Régis Wargnier, both Academy Awards Winners, are some of the features that stand out from his career. Vincent Perez has also been directed by Patrice Chéreau, Michelangelo Antonioni and Raúl Ruiz, among others.

Albano Jerónimo

Recently praised for his performance on the big screen adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco’s book, "Mysteries of Lisbon", by the Chilean Raúl Ruiz, where he played Count of Santa Bárbara, and a graduate from Conservatório de Lisboa, Albano Jerónimo is one of the most acclaimed actors working in Portugal at the moment. Moving with ease between TV, Theatre and Cinema, Jerónimo can be seen in the following recent films: Marco Martins’s "How to Draw a Perfect Circle", Vicente Alves do Ó’s "Florbela", and Solveig Nordlund’s "A Morte de Carlos Gardel".

Joana de Verona

Having started her acting career on a popular Portuguese TV series, her talent would nonetheless only truly shine through in her cinema roles - namely as Eugénia in Raúl Ruiz’s "Mysteries of Lisbon" and in Marco Martins’s "How to Draw a Perfect Circle". Recently she has joined the cast of Solveig Nordlund’s "A Morte de Carlos Gardel", Catarina Ruivo’s "Em Segunda Mão" and João Salaviza’s short-film "Rafa" (which was awarded with the Berlinale´s Golden Bear).

Gonçalo Waddington

Goncalo Waddington is one of the most versatile and talented actors of his generation, regularly working in Theater, Television and Cinema. On stage he worked with Jorge Silva Melo, Maria Emília Correia, Carlos Avillez and Miguel Seabra and, on television, he was the leading star of the mini-series "Até Amanhã, Camaradas", directed by Joaquim Leitão. His filmography includes participations in Marco Martins’s "Alice" and "How to Draw a Perfect Circle", Tiago Guedes and Frederico Serra’s "Bad Blood" and "Entre os Dedos", and Ivo M. Ferreira’s "Águas Mil".

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve is an unique and unforgettable name of the Seventh Art. She has worked with some of the most important filmmakers in the History of Cinema, including Luis Buñuel ("Belle de Jour"), François Truffaut ("The Last Metro"), Roman Polanski ("Repulsion"), Jacques Demy ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") and Manoel de Oliveira ("The Convent"). Catherine Deneuve has been nominated for an Academy Award Oscar for Leading Actress and her distinguished work has been praised at some of the most important international Cinema festivals. Deneuve was directed by Raúl Ruiz in several films, such as "Genealogies of a Crime" (Berlin Film Festival Official Selection) and "Time Regained" (Cannes Film Festival Official Selection).

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert, known as one of most outstanding actresses of world-class cinema, has collaborated with exceptional filmmakers throughout her career, always testing her limits as an actress in numerous and memorable roles. Claude Chabrol, Michael Haneke, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Schroeter, Claire Denis, François Ozon and Benoît Jacquot  are some of the directors that have chosen Huppert to star in their films. She won a Cesar Award, a BAFTA Award and twice the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actress Award. Huppert is also one of the few actresses who has won twice the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival (for Claude Chabrol’s "Violette Nozière"  and Michael Haneke’s "The Pianist"). In 2000, she starred in Raúl Ruiz’s "The Comedy of Innocence", selected for the Official Competition of theVenice Film Festival.

Michel Piccoli

Throughout his amazing career, Michel Piccoli has been directed by several legendary filmmakers, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Luis Buñuel, Marco Ferreri, Jacques Demy and Claude Chabrol. His performances have been awarded in the most important Film Festivals, including Cannes, Berlin and Locarno. Piccoli’s ability to embody each character, while always keeping his cinematic charisma, can be attested in numerous films, including Godard’s "Contempt", Carax’s "Mauvais Sang",  Ferreri’s "Dillinger Died", Angelopoulos’ "The Dust of Time" or Moretti’s "We Have a Pope". Under the direction of Raúl Ruiz, he joined the cast of "Genealogies of a Crime" and "That Day". Besides "Lines of Wellington", Michel Piccoli can be also seen on the latest films directed by Alain Resnais and Leos Carax, both presented at the Cannes Film Festival.

Chiara Mastroianni

Chiara Mastroianni is, beyond any doubt, one of the strongest names of today´s French Cinema. Daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, Chiara has joined the cast of several films directed by internationally revered directors, e.g. Manoel de Oliveira ("The Letter"), André Téchiné ("My Favorite Season"), Robert Altman ("Pret-a-Porter") and Arnaud Desplechin ("A Christmas Tale"). She is also a regular actress in Christophe Honoré’s films and has starred in "Love Songs", "Making Plans for Lena" or "Beloved". Chiara Mastroianni has worked with Raúl Ruiz in "Time Regained" and "Three Lives and Only One Death", both selected for the Cannes Film Festival.

Malik Zidi

Malik Zidi was first revealed by François Ozon, in Water Drops on Burning Rocks and since then he has become one of the most sought after French actors. He impressed in André Téchiné’s "Changing Times", thrilled in "Un chat un chat", alongside Chiara Mastroianni, and joined the all-star cast of "Mysteries of Lisbon". Malik Zidi also starred in the latest films of Mathieu Kassovitz ("Rebellion") and Jacques Doillon ("Un Enfant de Toi"). Soon he will be one of the protagonists of the film "Les Passages", alongside Mary-Louise Parker and Julie Delpy.

Maria João Bastos

In "Mysteries of Lisbon" she played the most challenging role of her career, establishing herself as one of the most talented actresses of the national scene. Her performance was considered by The Village Voice and Indiewire as internationally one of the year’s best and in Portugal she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress. Recently, she was directed by one of the most important Portuguese filmmakers, Fernando Lopes, in his last film, "Em Câmara Lenta".

João Luís Arrais

The young Portuguese actor started on Television but it was on the big screen that he became a national revelation, with his amazing performance as Pedro da Silva (child), in the award-winning "Mysteries of Lisbon", directed by the Chilean master Raúl Ruiz. His demanding character in "Lines of Wellington" represents another true challenge in the career of this young Portuguese talent.

Adriano Luz

Adriano Luz, one of the most sought after Portuguese actors, recently stood out as one of the main characters of Raúl Ruiz’s Mysteries of Lisbon, for which he won a Portuguese Golden Globe for Best Actor. His vast filmography includes films from some of the most remarkable Portuguese directors, such as João Botelho ("Traffic", "The Fatalist"), João Mário Grilo ("A Falha", "451 Forte"), Teresa Villaverde ("A Idade Maior"), José Nascimento ("Too Late") and Margarida Cardoso ("The Murmuring Coast"). Last year, Adriano Luz joined the cast of "Demain?", directed by Christine Laurent. Recently, Adriano Luz made his directorial debut with the short film, "O Dia Mais Feliz da Tua Vida".

Filipe Vargas

Vargas started his acting career in the acclaimed Portuguese television series "Conta-me como Foi" and, since then, has worked in numerous projects, including the great screen adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco´s "Mysteries of Lisbon". He has also worked with Manoel de Oliveira ("Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl"), João Botelho ("The Film of Disquiet") and Bruno de Almeida ("Operation Autumn") and is fast becoming one of the most relevant actors of his generation.

Soraia Chaves

She first appeared on screen in the coveted leading role in "O Crime do Padre Amaro", based on Eça de Queirós’s book of the same name and has since become increasingly visible in contemporary Portuguese cinema. In 2007, she starred in "Call Girl", directed by António Pedro Vasconcelos, and was awarded the Portuguese Golden Globe for Best Actress. She also joined the cast of António Pedro Vasconcelos’ "A Bela e o Paparazzo" and Leonel Vieira’s "The Art of Stealing".

Marisa Paredes

Marisa Paredes’s unique talent was recognized several times, including two nominations for the Goya Awards. An exceptional actress in Pedro Almodóvar’s films (with whom she has collaborated in "All About my Mother", "The Flower of My Secret", "High Heels" or "The Skin I Live In"), Marisa Paredes is, above all, one of the most important faces of Spanish cinema. Her charismatic presence could also be seen in films of prominent filmmakers like Manoel de Oliveira ("Magic Mirror"), Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful"), Arturo Ripstein ("Deep Crimson") and Raúl Ruiz, who directed Marisa Paredes in "Three Lives and Only One Death".

John Malkovich

Twice nominated for an Academy Award and a major personality of Theatre and Television, John Malkovich has one of the most solid and brilliant cinema careers of his time. Amazing directors such as Manoel de Oliveira, Michelangelo Antonioni, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Stephen Frears, Steven Spielberg and Bernardo Bertolucci have chosen Malkovich to be the leading star of some of their films. Directed by Raúl Ruiz, John Malkovich starred in important films, such as "Time Regained", "Savage Souls" and "Klimt", where he played the Austrian painter.

Carloto Cotta

Carloto Cotta debuted at only 19 in Miguel Gomes’ short-film "31". This auspicious start was followed by a series of successful projects, including "Nuit de Chien", by Werner Schroeter, "Arena" by João Salaviza, "The Portuguese Nun", by Eugène Green and the award-winning "Mysteries of Lisbon", directed by Raúl Ruiz. Recently, Carloto Cotta was the leading actor in Margarida Gil’s "Paixão" and Miguel Gomes’s "Tabu", which won a prize at the last Berlinale.

Victoria Guerra

She first starting acting at 18, in a popular Portuguese TV series and has since then become a familiar face on the small screen and taken more exciting roles. In 2011, she was casted for her first cinema role, as the leading character in André Badalo’s shortfilm "Catarina e os Outros", which won the Excellence Award at the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2011.

Marcello Urgeghe

Urgeghe is one of the most consistent actors in Portuguese Cinema. He has joined the cast of important films, such as José Àlvaro Morais’s "The Jester" and Teresa Villaverde’s "A Idade Maior". Recently he participated in Raúl Ruiz’s masterpiece "Mysteries of Lisbon" and played one of the major characters in Bruno de Almeida’s "Operation Autumn".

Jemima West

Jemima West began working as an actress at the young age of 10. Since then she has proved to be one of the most promising names among Francophone actors. Her participation in Luc Besson’s "Joan of Arc" marked her cinema debut, and was followed by several television roles in Canadian and French series. In fact, it was the popular and acclaimed series "Maison Close", premiered in 2010 in France, that turned Jemima West into a familiar face to the general public. West now joins the international and luxurious cast of "Lines of Wellington".

Afonso Pimentel

In the award-winning Mysteries of Lisbon, he delivered a compelling performance as Pedro da Silva. Afonso Pimentel has been a regular presence in Portuguese cinema since 1996, when he was chosen by Luís Filipe Rocha to star in "Adeus, Pai". Today, Afonso Pimentel is one of the most respected actors of his generation. His filmography includes "Coisa Ruim", by Frederico Serra and Tiago Guedes, "20,13", by Joaquim Leitão, and "A Falha", by João Mário Grilo.

Miguel Borges

Miguel Borges started his acting career on the Teatro da Cornucópia’s stage, under the direction of Miguel Guilherme, Stephan Stroux and Luís Miguel Cintra. Borges would later carry his talent into Cinema, where he has collaborated with filmmakers such as Teresa Villaverde ("Water and Salt" and "Two Brothers, My Sister"), João César Monteiro ("Snow White" and "Come and Go"), Jorge Silva Melo ("António, um Rapaz de Lisboa"), Edgar Pêra ("A Janela: Maryalva Mix"), and Tiago Guedes and Frederico Serra ("Bad Blood").

Mathieu Amalric

Mathieu Amalric is an internationally acclaimed cinema actor, having been directed by Steven Spielberg ("Munich"), Alain Resnais ("Les Herbes Folles") and Julian Schnabel ("The Diving and the Butterfly"), as well as having joined the cast of "James Bond – Quantum of Solace". Amalric, who already won three Cesars Awards, among other prizes, is also a director. In 2010, he won Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director Award for the feature "On Tour". Recently he joined the luxurious cast of "Cosmopolis", directed by David Cronenberg.

Melvil Poupaud

From the time he was a child, Melvil Poupaud participated in several Raúl Ruiz’s films, including "City of Pirates", "Fado, Major and Minor", "Genealogies of a Crime", "Time Regained", "Three Lives and Only One Death", "Love Torn in Dream" and the award-winning "Mysteries of Lisbon". Poupaud is also a prominent name in French cinema, having worked with Éric Rohmer ("A Summer’s Tale"), François Ozon ("Time to Leave, The Refuge"), among others. He has also been casted in some Hollywood films, such as "Speed Racer" and "Le divorce". Melvil Poupaud stars in Xavier Dolan’s latest film "Laurence Anyways".

Paulo Pires

Paulo Pires made his debut in José Álvaro Morais’s "Zéfiro" but it was only after his performance in José Fonseca e Costa’s "Five Days, Five Nights" that acting became a clear pursuit and his work as a model was gradually abandoned. His work in the theater, namely for Teatro Aberto and Teatro Nacional D. Maria II were paramount to solidifying his carrer, as were his TV appearances, on both Portuguese and international productions. Some of his main works in cinema were under the direction of Mário Barroso ("The Miracle According to Salomé") or José Fonseca e Costa ("O Fascínio").

  • Venice Film Festival

    Official Selection - Out of Competition

  • San Sebástian Film Festival

    Official Selection

  • Toronto International Film Festival

    Official Selection

  • New York Film Festival

    Official Selection

  • London Film Festival

    Official Selection

  • Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores Awards

    Best Film Award for Carlos Saboga

Valeria Sarmiento

Director's Note

The French invasions of Portugal were undoubtedly far removed from my experience. I started out by comparing the mass exodus of populations forced to leave their war-torn lands with my own exile, thus making the narrative more personal.

There´s no arguing the emotional connection to this movie. After Raúl´s death, the producer Paulo Branco invited me to continue with the project. I was scared but never doubtful: I had to do it for Raúl. It was to be my tribute and the team´s – technicians and actors - who felt exactly like me.

Working with Carlos Saboga is always a delight. The scripts for the Lines of Wellington and The Mysteries of Lisbon are equally excellent and follow a structure more closely resembling One Thousand and One Nights than they do a Hollywood production. He bestowed great importance to female characters and that sets it apart form other war movies.

We filmed on exotic locations, mainly in the Oeste region, in an unique environment which, along with the movie´s cinematography and music, imprinted the mass departure of people with outstanding strength.

I´d never filmed so many people all at once but modern filming techniques made it a breeze. I believe it must not have been easy for the extras – some of them endured the same cold weather the French troops did – but I spoke to several that told me they had great fun.

The film ended up being more than a sentimental attachment. It was a challenge and a duty that gave me great pleasure and, for that reason, I thank all that took part in it.

I believe we all worked in a close dialogue with Raúl, who supported us from high above.

Valeria Sarmiento

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