Introduction by Pedro Costa

Widely considered the founding text of the New Portuguese Cinema, Rocha’s coming-of-age film reflected a new attitude in the wake of post-Salazar modernization of urban life in the 1960s. Nineteen-year-old Julio heads to Lisbon from the provinces and gets a job as a shoemaker for his uncle Raul. But when he meets Ilda, a confident young housemaid who becomes a regular shop visitor, his working-class values collide with the bourgeois trappings of modern life. Rocha subverts melodramatic conventions by avoiding easy psychology or clearly defined goals, and favors mise-en-scène over narrative, reflecting a country at odds with its national character.