The story takes place in the old streets of Porto and by the banks of the Douro River. A gang of very young kids has just accepted a new member, Carlitos, a shy boy who has "played it tough...
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The story takes place in the old streets of Porto and by the banks of the Douro River. A gang of very young kids has just accepted a new member, Carlitos, a shy boy who has "played it tough" by stealing a doll in a shop. Carlitos soon has a crush on Terezinha, the only girl in the group. The trouble is that Eduardo, the gang boss, is also in love with the pretty girl. And he will not allow any rival to challenge him.Written by
One of the things I believe is that simplicity doesn't necessarily mean something poor or without quality. Quite the contrary, simplicity can be precisely the opposite: something very good and of great quality. This film is a perfect example of this theory of mine.
Being Portuguese myself, I saw very few Portuguese movies my whole life - and apparently so most Portuguese people. Many Portuguese people, including me, don't even dream about the huge amount of Portuguese films that actually exist. Among the very few Portuguese films I saw, the majority of them were nothing special. In fact, they were more like a longer episode of some boring Portuguese soap-opera that could make me yawn like a hippopotamus.
But 'Aniki Bobó' is different. Here we've got a truly quality Portuguese movie comparable to the finest films of the Golden Age of cinema and one that is really movie-like instead of seeming just a longer episode of some soap-opera. This movie is something to make us Portuguese proud of our nationality. Actually, it's one of the few things that still makes us proud of being Portuguese.
I'm not from Porto city and the Portuguese accent in this film is typically Porto-like. Might be a little tricky to understand at first or if you're not paying enough attention, but with successive viewings it gets much easier to understand but there are always some lines that are hard to catch up with.
Being a movie with more children than adults, it is about childhood. A kind of childhood you don't see anymore, when children were really children, lived of dreams and did everything children were supposed to do. The kids are excellent in their performances, especially the ones that portray the characters Eduardo, Carlitos, "Batatinhas" and Pompeu. Carlitos is the film's nicest kid, friendly, harmless, innocent, quiet and shy. "Batatinhas" is very funny. Eduardo is vain, cocky, despicable, arrogant, bratty and annoying yet funny at the same time. These aren't really faults. What's worst is the way he treats Carlitos - he's so mean to him! Pompeu, the intellectual boy, is hilarious despite (or maybe because of) his bizarre, slow-paced voice.
The other favorite characters of mine are grown-ups: the hilarious, suspicious, short-tempered owner of the shop of temptations (Loja das Tentações) and his poor dumb clerk and the impatient teacher. The respective actors's performances are impeccable.
The director Manoel de Oliveira is nowadays best known for his age than for his work, but he should be reminded at least for this fabulous movie which deserves a round 10. It is extremely simple but immensely charming. It makes you laugh, feel good and feel bad like few movies do (a clever combination of humor and drama). Cinematography is terrific, it does a fine job in showing us the streets of Porto. The music is wonderful. There are a few tense scenes and it also deals with such things as the feeling of sin and guilt. There are some nice and charming old Portuguese vocabularies not used nowadays and a good message: «Segue sempre por bom caminho», that is, something like «Always do the right thing».
Title in Portugal: 'Aniki Bóbó' (duh!).
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