In this charming neorealist gem set on the sleepy outskirts of Valencia, young Miguel and his friends undertake a seemingly simple mission on behalf of Miguel’s grandfather that teaches them all a lesson in real independence.


Contemporary World Cinema

The Kids from the Port

Alberto Morais

This charming neorealist gem from writer director Alberto Horais starts from a simple premise.

In the sleepy outskirts of Valencia, little moves aside from the colossal cranes arranging shipping containers into massive blocks. Young Miguel (Omar Krim) and his friends kill time playing soccer in a vacant dirt lot, or bouncing a ball against a wall on the site where the old Cine Nazaret used to be — even the movies have forgotten this place. Parents are either absent or in some zombie-like state. The only adult with whom Miguel connects is his grandpa (José Luis de Madariaga), who can usually be found wandering the neighbourhood in his underwear or locked in his room, smoking.

These kids need something to do, and grandpa supplies them with a perfect mission: his friend Julio has died, and grandpa insists that Julio's old military jacket be delivered to his grave. But the search for Julio's grave quickly proves to be fraught with challenges. With their meagre budget, how will they pay for the bus? For food? Where will they sleep? These everyday questions become micro-dramas for Miguel and his friends. The Kids From the Port is about the small events in childhood that help us grow up, little by little. By the end, Miguel has learned something about real independence — he decides to keep his adventure a secret. When he returns home, his mother looks up from her magazine and casually asks, "Where have you been?" "Around," he replies.



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