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A True Original: Alberto Cavalcanti

MUBI Special

One of the most talented craftsmen of his era, Alberto Cavalcanti was an almost contradictory figure: a Brazilian who made the majority of his films in Britain (including with the recent retrospective subject, Ealing Studios!) and France, Cavalcanti was initially known for his avant-garde and documentary talents before turning to commercial filmmaking. Yet, from these three eclectic films—which range from a masterfully unpredictable wartime thriller to a stellar Dickens adaptation—it’s not hard to see that he never turned his back on originality and was foremost committed to making truly vibrant cinema.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Alberto Cavalcanti United Kingdom, 1947


The last film Cavalcanti made for the beloved Ealing Studios, and surprisingly the only British adaptation of this Dickens classic. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is an epic tale of family and greed, economically told in an episodic adaptation equal parts charming and moving.

Champagne Charlie

Alberto Cavalcanti United Kingdom, 1944


The jovial life, art, and stardom of vaudeville performer George Laybourne is lovingly charted with an ecstatic sense of musicality and brisk storytelling in this charming film from Alberto Cavalcanti. A cinematic trip to Victorian-era London and its resplendent musical halls not soon forgotten.

Went the Day Well?

Alberto Cavalcanti United Kingdom, 1942


Today we begin a three-day, triple feature tribute to director Alberto Cavalcanti, a Brazilian initially known for his avant-garde and documentary work, who made mainstream films films in Britain and France. We begin with perhaps his greatest drama, a darkly thrilling vision of Nazis in WW2 Britain.

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