Pedro Costa

Pedro Costa – Vitalina Varela (2019)

When her husband leaves to find work in Portugal, Vitalina is left behind in Cape Verde. Years later, she finally makes the journey to Lisbon, but arrives three days after his funeral. Alone and isolated in her late husband’s home, she is determined to persevere and confront the ghosts of the past.
Mubi wrote:
Luminary Pedro Costa’s unique, collaborative style of portraiture reaches a magnificent peak in Vitalina Varela. Amongst haunting chiaroscuro compositions, her real-life stories of love, migration, and deceit take the form of bewitching incantations—and earned her the Best Actress award in Locarno! Read More »

Pedro Costa & Thierry Lounas – Où gît votre sourire enfoui? AKA Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2001)

Documentary about Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. While Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub assemble the third version of “Sicilia!”, Pedro Costa films a “reassembly comedy.” Behind their patience at work, tender and violent, the two filmmakers reveal a certain idea of the cinema, their cinema and their married life. Pedro Costa takes us to the center of his own cinema, in a unique space-time trip, and offers cinephiles the most beautiful gift he can dream of: participating in the interior, in the act of cinematic creation.
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Pedro Costa & Thierry Lounas – 6 Bagatelas AKA 6 Bagatelles (2001)

In 6 Bagatelles (6 Bagatelas), Pedro Costa takes unused scenes from his 2001 documentary on Staub and Huillet, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (Oû gît votre sourire enfoui?) and edits them into a new context. Read More »

Pedro Costa – Ossos AKA Bones (1997)

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The first film in Pedro Costa’s transformative trilogy about Fontainhas, an impoverished quarter of Lisbon, Ossos is a tale of young lives torn apart by desperation. After a suicidal teenage girl gives birth, she misguidedly entrusts her baby’s safety to the troubled, deadbeat father, whose violent actions take the viewer on a tour of the foreboding, crumbling shantytown in which they live. With its reserved, shadowy cinematography by Emmanuel Machuel (who collaborated with Bresson on L’argent), Ossos is a haunting look at a devastated community. Read More »

Pedro Costa – No Quarto da Vanda AKA In Vanda’s Room (2000)

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For the extraordinarily beautiful second film in his Fontainhas trilogy, Pedro Costa jettisoned his earlier films’ larger crews to burrow even deeper into the Lisbon ghetto and the lives of its desperate inhabitants. With the intimate feel of a documentary and the texture of a Vermeer painting, In Vanda’s Room takes an unflinching, fragmentary look at a handful of self-destructive, marginalized people, but is centered around the heroin-addicted Vanda Duarte. Costa presents the daily routines of Vanda and her neighbors with disarming matter-of-factness, and through his camera, individuals whom many would deem disposable become vivid and vital. This was Costa’s first use of digital video, and the evocative images he created remain some of the medium’s most astonishing.—The Criterion Collection Read More »

Pedro Costa – Ne change rien (2009)

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In Ne change rien, we see the French actress/singer Jeanne Balibar rehearsing, recording, performing and practicing with a singing coach for an opera bouffe by Jacques Offenbach. The Portuguese director Pedro Costa, a friend of Balibar’s who did the camera work himself, filmed her in long, static shots in which all attention is focused on her performance. This film, shot digitally, shows how versatile Balibar is. Costa also manages to portray the creative process, for instance in a scene in which Balibar and her guitarist Rodolphe Burger try out several variations of a song. Costa’s intimate portrait of the singer is filmed in black-and-white. Costa, who is celebrating his 50th birthday this year and who made his debut in 1989 with the feature O sangue, has seen many of his films screened in Rotterdam over the years. Read More »

Pedro Costa – O Sangue AKA Blood (1989)

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Vicente, seventeen, lives with brother Nino, ten-years-old, and his ailing father in a derelict house on the outskirts of the capital. They don’t seem to remember their mother, and are very much attached to their father, despite his temper, and his frequent absences from home. One day, the father leaves for good, and Vicente and Nino swear to cover it up. It’s their secret. Clara, the primary school assistant, is fascinatingly beautiful, and secretive, and (may be) she knows it aswel. There are other secrets, though: the origin of the money that appears at Vicente’s house; the relationship between Vicente’s well-to-do uncle and his girlfriend; the relationship between the four people who once played the cards together, and now can’t stand each other. Read More »