Costa's debt to to Straub-Huillet is expressed in the form of a pictorially-established ontological materialism; human beings, payed lavish attention, have something like the status of things (though things flung into language). CASA DE LAVA, w/ its debt to I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, also centers around spirit, mystery, and the unnameable. There is something of the foggy logic of the weary traveler's undulant dreams.
In land, clay, mud, gravel, rubble, stone. Costa's film is an earthly tale and a cinema personal discover. It acts as Cezanne's still life meeting Cape Verde universe. It is beautiful, it is powerful and it is a film to be seen over and over again. It fills the soul with belief - an emotional journey to cinema's most beautiful places.
There's both beauty and incoherence here. The beauty is at times extraordinary (some incredible human visages as well!). The lack of tangible narrative perhaps helps the film suggest important broader themes around the legacy of colonialism and the burden of the past both personally and societally - but that probably reveals more about me than the film. This is a striking and atmospheric open text of a film.
A strange, slightly unintelligible, slow-moving tale with stunning cinematography. I watched the whole film with the sense that I was constantly on the cusp of understanding what was going on, but never quite getting there. And then it suddenly ended. I like what one of the other reviewers said about it being its own genre. On that basis, it gets four stars. But is it a good film? I'm still not sure.
Oh my word. What on earth? I mean, eh? What? Is it a 3 star, 5 star, 0 star film? How are you supposed to rate something that's in a genre all of its own? Is it even a movie? Gosh I'm confused. But but but but but. It is haunting me. Whatever it was has made me nervous. It has quickened my pulse. It has reminded me of sensations I can only recall from reading Heart of Darkness. Arrrrgggghhh. Love? Hate? ... Love!
I feel mysteriously attracted by this film. Recently a dear friend of mine suggested I enjoy films with lush vistas more than others. That's not entirely so. What turns me on are timeless presentations of unique characters in extravagant locations. Casa de Lava presents gorgeous Ines de Medeiros and phenomenal Cristiano Andrades in a otherworldly set. Not without some glitches, CDL is a film like no other!
The plot (was there a plot?) was confusing and jumpy. The characters and their spoken lines were unconvincing. And a very poor portrayal of coma and outcome, completely unrealistic. The scenery was great though, I knew nothing about Cape Verde (still know very little), it was just about worth watching the movie for the backdrops. And some impressive eyebrows.
Save the natural beauty of the landscape, the mysterious atmosphere of the night, the humbleness of the cobbled streets and throw away this loose plot, often unintelligible, that ends in no-man's land helped by an amateurish editing and a concept too focused on an ethereal personal vision rather than a dialogue with the viewer.