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
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.