Here, in the UK at least, Portuguese cinema has always seemed to be the province of a few 'big names', (Antonio Campos, Manoel de Oliveira, Pedro Costa etc), as if distributors were afraid to embrace the new kids on the block which is why we should welcome the chance to see Joao Nicolau's coming-of-age movie "John From". Julia Palha is 15 year old Rita who, one hot summer, develops a crush on her new, older neighbour. Not much happens and the characters and settings could just as easily exist in the American Mid-West or in Sweden or in Taiwan; in other words, teenage crushes are much the same anywhere but Nicolau approaches his with a sweetness and an intelligence that is disarming, Both Palha and Clara Riedenstein are excellent as Rita and her best friend Sara while Filipe Vargas has just the right degree of sexiness and insouciance as the handsome neighbour. Minor perhaps but Nicolau is definitely a name to watch.
Bored by spending the summer in the city, 15-year-old Rita decides to take a fancy to her new neighbor, a photographer who is setting up an exhibit of his shots in Melanesia. What starts as...
June 15, 2020