"Mas é dentro ou fora que os espaços se marcam com cruzes amarelas, como as casas dos pestíferos, noutras idades médias,ou como as casas dos judeus, noutras idades novas? (...)Até o écran ficar todo negro e se ouvir, como do além, a música de Gyorgy Kurtag. Do Quarto da Vanda não se sai mais. Como já disse: o Século XXI abriu com No Quarto da Vanda. 'Não há remédio: não podemos deixar de ver.'" - João Bénard da Costa
A difficult wander this one. I will be in the strange minority that found Ossos to be the film I more easily connected with. Yet there is some strange magic in this film, a mood, or mystery of place that appeals and haunts. Those who have called it a ghost story, wherein perhaps the characters involved still living, do not realize they are ghosts. It is perhaps if anything a full-on capturing of a place, of a time.
I was wary of this film after “Ossos,” which I wasn’t a fan of. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is much better. The contrast and darkness and vibrant, solid colors made for a very individual, unique look that made degradation and poverty appealing to the eye. It can be hard to get into, but once you let that undertow take you and you succumb to the rhythm, time flies.
Nearly as adequate for poverty and hardship reassessing as Solzhenitsyn's "One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich", the days shot around Vanda's room append another coat of frailty and perishing to what pertains to our lot: by the time credits roll in and gazes shift aside, the Duartes will've vanished tracklessly, mopped up by urban systematization that crushes homes as if transitory sets to Costa's non-fiction film
10 - At the risk of sounding biased towards my own country’s cinematic exports, I will endeavor to make the following statement; this film ranks very highly in my personal pantheon. It is a piece more worthy of the “documentary” label than many films that freely tout it, displaying a gift for depicting tangible characters and spaces that rivals, and often eclipses, Edward Yang’s. The zenith of cinema vérité.
Sórdido cuadro de un suburbio decadente, uno que llega no solo del próximo derrumbe del mismo, sino también del estilo de vida de sus habitantes quienes por sí solos parecen ceder al exterminio. Vanda y compañía comparten su cotidianidad. La droga como centro de sus existencias, aquella de la que algunos han querido abandonar pero no lo lograron. Costa registra un testimonio del fracaso, entre la oscuridad y lumbres.
"No quarto da Vanda" continues the magnificent trajectory followed by Pedro Costa in his creative progression. Almost three hours of immersion in Fontainhas, in this powerful and desperate portrayal of decadence. Moving between documentary and fiction, Costa brings back elements from great filmmakers such as Straub & Huillet, or even Ozu. A completely necessary film.
Some films suddently flashes up - in a moment really, very concretely existing for you - maybe while you make yourself some pancakes (me today), maybe it exists for you in a single image, maybe in two, but in a certain way also in all its endurance, in all its concreteness and mystery, and in this, it not only endures, but grows in accordance with every instance of remembering, cinema thriving in every pancake flip.