The Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa made his first film, Blood, in 1989. In 1994, Down to Earth followed, which was filmed in Cape Verde. Costa came back from the island with a number of parcels and letters from Cape Verdeans he had met there, addressed to their relatives and friends who had emigrated to Portugal. His task as a postman brought him to Lisbon’s Fontainhas neighbourhood, where many migrants were living at the time. After this first contact with the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, Costa kept returning there, filming Ossos in 1997, the first instalment in a series of films he would make with the inhabitants of Fontainhas.
The Films of Anne-Marie Miéville
“The love experience will be reshaped into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being and another, no longer one that flows from man to woman.” This quote from Rainer Maria Rilke, which adorns the end of Lou n’a pas dit non (1994), encapsulates the essence of Anne-Marie Miéville’s quest, which is driven by a universal, imperishable question: how to live together?
This Week’s Agenda
For six years already, Sabzian has been inviting a guest to contemplate the state of cinema today, craft a text that illuminates cinema's essence and potential significance, and choose a film that connects to it. For this year’s State of Cinema event, Sabzian and Bozar welcome French filmmaker Alice Diop. Diop's cinematic endeavours focus on the individuals she is “conditioned to reject”, aiming to secure their position within film heritage. Alongside her contribution, Diop has selected Sarah Maldoror’s film Sambizanga. Join us at Bozar on Thursday.
Despite Jarmusch never having visited Memphis prior to creating Mystery Train (1989), the film remains a compelling portrayal of the city. Jarmusch captures the city through the lens of an outsider who’s enchanted by its musical legacy (with icons like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison recording there) and seeks to uncover the echoes of its influence. Split into three narratives, the film unfolds as a canvas of Jarmusch’s musings, exploring themes of travel, solitude, crime, and the supernatural. Roger Ebert wrote that the difference between Jarmusch and many other indie filmmakers is that “he chews before swallowing.”
On Sunday afternoon, delve into the haunting reality of a Depression-era dance marathon with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969) at De Cinema. Sydney Pollack's raw realism captures the desperate, muted shuffling of contestants spiralling into exhaustion and collapse as Jane Fonda’s and Michael Sarrazin's characters endure gruelling hours of dance in pursuit of a cash prize. Pollack creates a microcosm within the ballroom, where characters devoid of pasts or futures exist solely in this relentless competition, unable to escape despite their growing weariness and the futility of their endeavour accumulating with every passing hour.