The movie eiffeldirected by Martin Bourboulon, was released in theaters on May 19, 2022 in Portugal. eiffel was the introductory film of Frances Cinema Festival, October 7, in Lisbon. This feature film, biopic of Gustave Eiffel’s life with many elements of fiction, depicts the construction project of the Eiffel Tower and its realization, monument that makes France great and tears, then, the passions. The release of the film in Portugal is also an opportunity to remember that the Eiffel practiced in the country, in Porto in particular, and influenced the construction of many buildings.
The film: between historical biopic and fictionalized fiction
Martin Bourboulon’s film resumes the story of the creation of “Iron Lady”. Everything is going on, the creation of the project, the beginning of the work and the difficulties encountered, the wonders of the residents of Ile-de-France, then the opposition from part of the public opinion and finally the completion of this 300 meter high tower. However, “Eiffel” is not only a historical biopic, it is also a romantic fiction. The director cast Romain Duris (in the role of Gustave Eiffel) and Emma Mackey (in the role of Adrienne Bourgès). The French actress is particularly known by the young audience for her role in the famous Netflix series “Sex Education”. The love affair, tumultuous and passionate between the two actors, is fictionalized for the film, as nothing in reality proves that Adrienne Bourgès, Gustave Eiffel’s childhood love, really had an influence on the construction of the Eiffel Tower. History and Gustave Eiffel lovers may in the staging of this relationship see an excessive romance, while others will see it as a beautiful excuse for love. In the film, Gustave Eiffel, who is primarily interested in the construction of the subway, proposes the tower for the 1889 World’s Fair, not to restore the city’s image that the government wants, but to flatter his love for yesterday. The love story thus occupies an important place in the story and sometimes takes the construction of the tower in the background. Still, magnificent images are on offer, all in a beautifully transcribed Parisian atmosphere from the late 19th century.
Gustave Eiffel and his works in Portugal
The cinematic release of the film Eiffel serves as a reminder that Gustave Eiffel worked extensively in Portugal, leaving behind an extremely important bridge for the development of the country and an impressive architectural and cultural heritage. Between 1875 and 1877, the French engineer settled in the small town of Barcelos with a view to building the bridge spanning the Douro, in Porto “Maria Pia”. During the work he had his office in the heart of the city, at the Palacio da Bolsa (the stock exchange palace). The construction of the bridge was at that time a technical feat. At this time in the Douro, the current was very strong and threatened to bring the bridge down if it was built on columns with period techniques and materials. This is how the Eiffel imagined, with all its ingenuity, this 160-meter-long arch that enabled the construction of the UNESCO World Heritage List. For observers, it is clear that this arch system was repeated ten years later for the Eiffel Tower, thus making the Maria Pia Bridge a crucial inspiration in the continuation of Gustave Eiffel’s career. In addition to its technical modernity, this bridge was the first to cross the Douro at the time, connecting Porto and Lisbon by rail. It was a real development tool for the country. In addition, the engineer has built several other bridges and viaducts across the country, such as the Viana do Castelo. Similarly, Gustave Eiffel and his unique technique influenced major monuments in the country, such as the Elevador Santa Justa in Lisbon or the Pont Dom-Luis, built by Théophile Seyrig next to Maria, whether through his apprentices or those who were inspired by him. Pia Bridge in Porto.
Learn more about Festa do cinema frances 2021 here