WORLD CINEMA: Aniki-Bóbó (1942)

As 2021 comes to an end (thank God), so does WORLD CINEMA (boooo!). And because I’ve spent the past few weeks in my home country for the holidays, that’s exactly where I’m taking the last WORLD CINEMA: we go over to Portugal and Manoel de Oliveira’s debut film, Aniki-Bóbó.

Aniki-Bóbó concerns the lives of a group of kids living in the working class streets of Porto, with a love triangle as its main focus: Carlitos (Horácio Silva) is in love with Teresinha (Fernanda Matos), who is also being courted by Eduardo (António Santos), which leads to, obviously, mayhem.

Set in Manoel de Oliveira’s hometown, Porto is the perfect backdrop for a film that, despite its simplistic plot, is made great by the execution. A sort of precursor to Italian neo-realism, Aniki-Bóbó is charming, sweet and humorous, with a touch of social commentary that is only to be expected. One of the most interesting things about it is that, like so many European films of that time, Aniki-Bóbó‘s main players are children, with their lives, loves and woes taking center stage, dealt with in a serious manner. The plot revolves around them, with the adults being supporting characters that ultimately put the kids’ plot into context and create a kind of conflict that is wonderfully resolved in a rather cute way by the film’s third act. Because of this, AnikiBóbó‘s charms are a breath of fresh air, its sense of wonder and innocence something that was rather bold for a debut feature.

And from debut feature to swan song, it is with Aniki-Bóbó that we bid farewell to WORLD CINEMA and 2021. Hope to see you in the new year, when I’ll be debuting a brand new series. Happy New Year!

Four classic movie families I would love to spend Christmas with

I actually, literally cannot believe it’s December. Like, what happened? Is this even allowed? Anyway, Christmas is (almost) here and I bring you four families from beloved classics that I would love to spend Christmas with:

The Lords, The Philadelphia Story (1940) – Let’s face it, Christmas with this lot would be filled with zingers, passive-aggressive insults, and a whooole lot of champagne and caviar. Because if that disastrous wedding is anything to go by, the Lords know how to throw a party! Invite Miss Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) and Mike Connor (Jimmy Stewart) again and you’ve got yourself one hell of a festive season.

The Bullocks, My Man Godfrey (1936) – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Bullocks are the craziest screwball family ever. You’ve got Mom Angelica (Alice Brady), whose only concern is her flamboyant protégé Carlo (Misha Auer), Dad Alex (Eugene Palette), who can’t stand his family’s shenanigans, eldest daughter Cornelia (Gail Patrick), the snotty brat of the family and youngest daughter Irene (Carole Lombard), an adorable airhead who falls in love with their butler Godfrey (William Powell) after ‘winning’ him in a scavenger hunt. Phew! Yes please.

The Smiths, Meet me in St Louis (1944) – Meet me in St Louis is my all-time favorite musical. A few years ago, I wrote about some of my favorite things about it, and I think the Smiths are one of the reasons why it’s such a great film. The love, friendship and camaraderie between them all is heart-warming. It is also partly a Christmas movie, so it all works out.

The Setons, Holiday (1938) – The third film Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn made together and the loveliest, Holiday is another festive gem, about the love triangle between Johnny Case (Grant), Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) and her sister Linda Seton (Hepburn). Despite their enormous wealth and endless family drama, the Setons are a loving and supportive family, not to mention that they live in what is probably my favorite house in film history! *drools*