Review: ‘Civil War’

"Summer of '82" might be a more apt title for Pedro Caldas' affected "Civil War."

“Summer of ’82” might be a more apt title for Pedro Caldas’ affected “Civil War,” which generates some tension during a beach holiday between a rather easily distracted mother and her odd, Joy Division-besotted son. But it’s hardly war, and the boredom that descends over the proceedings lessens the worth of the film’s trite central situation. Though “Summer” is packed for travel to select Euro fest sites, theatrical prospects and beyond are poor for this winner of the Portuguese film award at the Indie Lisboa fest.

Teenager Rui (Francisco Belard) spends his summer 1982 vacation wandering around the beach and following cute girls, until he seems to meet his match with Joana (Catarina Wall), who’s never too far from her bike. Rui, who appears mildly autistic, is such a Joy Division fan that he physically imitates the band’s leader, Ian Curtis, but his character remains steadfastly enigmatic. His bored mom (Maria Leite) latches onto hunky Ze (Nuno Romano) for romps in the sand, oblivious that Rui needs attention. Pic views events first from Rui’s p.o.v., then his mom’s, to no particular advantage.

Civil War



A Blackmaria presentation. Produced by Joao Figueiras. Directed by Pedro Caldas. Screenplay, Caldas, Joao Gusmao.


Camera (color), Leonardo Simoes; editor, Nelly Quettier; production designer, Miguel Inacio; costume designer, Nadia Henriques. Reviewed at Indie Lisboa Film Festival (competing), April 28, 2010. Running time: 90 MIN.


Francisco Belard, Maria Leite, Catarina Wall, Nuno Romano, Pedro M. Ruivo.

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