Pedro Costa Cinematheque Ontario Screenings

Pedro Costa Colossal YouthPedro Costa movies at Cinematheque Ontario (image: Pedro Costa's 'Colossal Youth')

Toronto's Cinematheque Ontario will present the mini retrospective “Still Lives: The Films of Pedro Costa,” featuring four of Portuguese director Pedro Costa's efforts. Those are referred to as “some of the most dreamlike, transcendent films in contemporary cinema.” Costa will be in attendance at some of the screenings, which will be held from June 8-16, 2007. The four Pedro Costa movies are the following:

Colossal Youth

Colossal Youth / Juventude em Marcha (2006, Portugal / France / Switzerland) tells the story of a Cape Verdean ex-laborer who, after his wife abandons him, wanders around his slummy Lisbon neighborhood visiting other outcasts who see him as a father figure.

In Vanda's Room

In Vanda's Room / No Quarto de Vanda (2000, Portugal / Germany / Italy / Switzerland) chronicles the daily lives of two slum-dwelling, crack-addicted sisters. This digitally shot docudrama features non-professionals Vanda Duarte (who can also be seen in Colossal Youth) and Lena Duarte playing themselves. According to the Cinematheque Ontario's caption, In Vanda's Room “offers the simplest of found truths: Life may treat these people with 'nothing but contempt,' as one character says, but in their tenuous connections with each other in a world that is literally coming down around them, they assert their worth, their kindness and dignity.”


Bones / Ossos (1997, Portugal / France / Denmark) is the story of “a baby born to a suicidal teenaged mother, whose equally young, blank-faced father uses the child as a prop for begging and then tries to sell it – first to a nurse who has shown him great kindness, and then to a prostitute.” The Cinematheque quotes Jacques Rivette on Pedro Costa's Bones: “I think it's magnificent, I think that Costa is genuinely great. It's beautiful and strong.”

Down to Earth

Down to Earth / Casa de Lava (1995, Portugal / France / Germany) follows a Portuguese nurse (Inês Medeiros) who goes to Cape Verde to accompany an immigrant (Isaach de Bankolé) in a coma as a result of a work accident in Lisbon. Once on Cape Verde, the nurse tries to piece together the (former) immigrant's life story.

According to the Cinematheque's synopsis, Down to Earth is a sort of cross between Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli and Jacques Tourneur's I Walked with a Zombie – presumably with Inês Medeiros as a cross between Ingrid Bergman and Frances Dee. In case the I Walked with a Zombie connection is for real, then it's most appropriate that the Down to Earth cast also features Edith Scob, who had the (metaphorically speaking) title role in Georges Franju's eerie Eyes Without a Face.

Note: Casa de Lava literally means “House of Lava.” And needless to say, Pedro Costa's Down to Earth has absolutely no connection to Alexander Hall's 1947 fantasy of the same name, starring Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks.

Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth photo: Cinematheque Ontario.

Pedro Costa Cinematheque Ontario Screenings © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to Pedro Costa Cinematheque Ontario Screenings

  1. Gilberto de Oliveira

    Interesting films, but hard to watch. Patience is the word. Patience is the key.