Aniki-Bóbó (1942)


Released in 18th December 1942 on the Cinema Éden in Lisbon, “Aniki-Bóbó” is a portuguese movie directed by Manoel de Oliveira (currently still alive (with 104 years old) and actively working on cinema, making him the oldest director ever still working)

Inspired on a story by Dr. Rodrigues de Freitas, “Meninos milionários”, the movie features an ensemble cast of child actors (subsquently unknowns as well), for most part, and very few adults, located in between the Porto and Gaia riverbank

The movie begins with what can be viewed as a future situation, altough not mentioned… yet (someone falls in the hill and a girl screams) and then the credits roll. The first situation of the movie after a very enigmatic opening was Carlitos (Horácio Silva), a dreamer boy, preparing himself to go to school after his mother woke him up

Throughout the movie, the main plot was the romantic crush he had on Teresinha (Fernanda Matos), a sweet and helpful girl who dreams of having the doll of her dreams that is displayed on a shop (Carlitos, to prove his love for her, would steal the doll from the little shop (called “Loja das Tentações” (“Tempation Store”). His obstacle is the bossy leader of the group, Eduardo (António Santos), who is also in love with Teresinha. From then on, tensions start to amount between them

One day, Eduardo organizes with the gang and with Teresinha a “skipping off” school in order to having a great time playing around, making sure with the rest of the group that Carlitos doesn’t know about this. However, the latter soon finds out about that and he joins the group, culminating in a fight between the two forementioned and also with the situation that first appeared in the opening of the movie: Eduardo falls from the hill to fall in the train lines and all the blame is put on Carlitos, eventhough he says he didn’t push Eduardo

Outside the hospital, the shop owner (Nascimento Fernandes) sees Teresinha going to see Eduardo, who’s still in uncertainty whether he lives or passes away, altough the former believes he’ll be fine. Tearfully, the girl tells to him that Carlitos had stole the doll. The shop owner, on the other, witnessed the accident and reassures the girl that Carlitos is innocent, as Eduardo had actually accidentally slipped from the hill by himself. In between, Carlitos tries to run away from the city in a fisherman boat to no avail. The movie ends with everything sorted out, with him happily reunited by his friends and Teresinha and with the shop owner giving him the doll Teresinha loves so much after Carlitos had come to the shop to return it where it belongs

The word “Aniki-Bobó” is a portuguese slang for the game of “cops and robbers” in which the cops must find and catch the robbers and it’s depicted in middle of the movie on one evening

The movie itself wasn’t a hit back then and had mixed opinions by the public. With the years, the movie has become a cult film, especially for the critics, and an important reference of the portuguese cinema for its imagery and for its intriguing plot

I saw this movie for the first time a bit more than 10 years ago and I was cativated by its unusual story portrayal of children with its high and low attributes. At least, it was unusual to see a movie that seems like an unofficial forerunner of the neo-realism (a genre that became more official in Italy with directors like Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Vittorio de Sica or Michaelangelo Antonioni), as it depicts somehow a social critic of what’s depreciative on mankind: hypocrisy, selfishness and violence, all because of one person. All connected into a beautiful imagery setting the multi-pace of the movie as well as eyesighting the simple and yet beautiful landscapes of Porto back then

Also great were the semi-comic, semi-ironic moments of the child actor António Morais Soares, playing the role of Carlitos‘ best friend, Pistarim, a happy-go-lucky boy

All in all,  an enjoyable movie that should be seen over and over again in order to understand what’s behind this simple but emotionally and ethically effective movie

A last treat – a trailer for the 2010 DVD release of the movie (the first time the movie has ever been released on this format. And in remastered form, incluiding some important extras):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 3 de June de 2012, in Cinema. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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