Home, family, and violence: the films of João Canijo

Daniel Ribas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Portuguese filmmaker João Canijo’s films and his use of family and home present a portrait of contemporary Portugal: underprivileged families trying to survive in the modern world, emphasising the women’s lack of power and the imposition of a patriarchal community. Moreover, using the same narrative pattern, these films allow a study of the tensions in Portuguese society. The place where the narrative develops is the family’s home, the site for the struggle of everyday life. This artistic analysis can be read through the lenses of a cultural analysis made in the past decades by researchers and essayists who examine how the Portuguese cultural representations are strongly attached to a Salazaristic ideology. The films of João Canijo build upon these cultural representations against a harsher reality, which is represented by the way families implode with systemic violence. Thus, this article argues how the home is a claustrophobic space –filled with markers of nationality in its mise-en-scène–, where families cannot live together, and where violence destroys the idyllic cultural representations of Portugal.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 May 2024


  • Cultural representations
  • Family
  • Home
  • João Canijo
  • Portuguese cinema


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