João Canijo’s Blood of My Blood is one of the key features marking the Portuguese hotspot in new world cinema. Honing a superbly original style of complex, cross-cutting shots and dialogue, he skilfully blends gritty urban cinema with larger than life psychodrama. In the suburbs of Lisbon, single mother Márcia lives with her sister and two teenaged kids. She is used to problems from her drug dealer son Joca, but when Andreia, her daughter confesses her love for an older, married man, her life gets complicated.
The only thing any of us wants in life is to be loved without explanation. We want unconditional love, without having to give or receive explanations. The deepest love is that which has no reason to exist at all.’ This quotation from António Lobo Antunes encapsulates the central theme of the film – the tragedy that results when real life collides with unconditional love, a love without explanation, that has no reason to exist at all. Unconditional love may be put to the test, but it is never put at risk. For, as Aristotle said, happiness is absolutely final; it is always chosen for itself alone, never as a means to an end. And in this film, all actions aim at achieving the happiness of a person that is loved. That is the purpose of the rest; all else occurs in function of it. The happiness of the loved person is always chosen as an end in itself, and never as a means. The film explores how love and affection manage to survive in the sterile environment of a deprived inner-city neighbourhood. In such a context – threatened by irredeemable circumstances, by ignorance, violence and the total absence of civilized values – love can be put under the microscope and its essence observed. The more arid the emotional landscape, the more unconditional and unquestionable any gesture of love becomes. This society is depicted in all its depravity in order to allow unconditional love to take shape. For it is only in a context of great violence that a blood bond can be truly put to the test.
Joao Canijo, Director
Recommended rating: Cert 18.