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
Pedro Costa (born 1959) is a Portuguese film director. He is acclaimed for using his ascetic style to depict the marginalised people in desperate living situations. Many of his films are set in a district of Lisbon inhabited by the socially disadvantaged and shot in a natural and low-key way that makes them resemble documentaries. While studying history at University of Lisbon, Costa switched to film courses at School of Theatre and Cinema (Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema). After working as an assistant director to several directors such as Jorge Silva Melo and João Botelho, he made a first feature film O Sangue (The Blood) in 1989. He collected the France Culture Award (Foreign Cineaste of the Year) at 2002 Cannes International Film Festival for directing the film No Quarto da Vanda (In Vanda’s Room). Juventude em Marcha (Youth on the March, known as “Colossal Youth” in Anglophone countries, and “En avant, jeunesse” – “Onward, Youth” – in Francophone countries) was selected for… read more
The Portuguese maestro talks digital, film and DCP, early influences and teachers, David Fincher and filmmaking now.
"For a small group of diligent cinephiles, Criterion's Letters From Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa is one of the most anticipated
"Like his earlier documentary, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? on seminal filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at work on Sicilia
The Pedro Costa retrospective currently underway at the Tate Modern (through October 4) occasions two pieces in the new issue of Sight &