Pedro Costa

22.11.2023
A COLLECTION OF 9 texts, 5 film pages, 1 event
NL FR EN

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. 

After Ossos, which was filmed with a fairly large and standard film crew, Costa decided to radically rethink his approach. He returned to Fontainhas, alone this time. Unlike his previous work on 35mm, Costa started filming on MiniDV with the newly released Panasonic DVX-100, which resulted in the three-hour film In Vanda’s Room (2000). To date, three more full-length films featuring the residents of this neighbourhood have ensued: Colossal Youth (2006), Horse Money (2014), and Vitalina Varela (2019).

Besides his feature-length films, Costa has also made a number of short films with the inhabitants of Fontainhas. His most recent short film, As Filhas do Fogo [The Daughters of Fire], was released in 2023. In 2001, he also made the feature Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?, in which he filmed Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet during their third reworking of the montage of the film Sicilia!. In 2009, he made Change Nothing, a portrait of the French singer Jeanne Balibar.

Texts

Ruben Desiere, 2014
CONVERSATION
23.06.2021
NL EN

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. Pedro Costa: “Fontainhas is, indeed, the product of something, of the factories here, of people moving from some northern Scottish village to Sheffield. That is what it’s about.”

Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela

Jacques Rancière, 2020
ARTICLE
14.10.2020
NL EN

Ventura, who had only played himself in previous films, appears in Vitalina Varela as a full-blown actor, playing against type a double role taken from the world of fiction: a fallen priest character distantly echoing Bernanos’s and Bresson’s miserable country priest; but also a privileged witness of the life of the deceased, a witness behind whom one sometimes seems to perceive the wandering shadow of Joseph Cotten/Leland in his retirement home, even though Citizen Kane is not part of Pedro Costa’s pantheon.

A Conversation with Jacques Rancière

A Conversation with Jacques Rancière

Stoffel Debuysere, 2017
CONVERSATION
20.09.2017
NL EN

“Fiction is everywhere. The question is: where do we situate the starting point of fiction? What kind of arrangement makes something happen? In a way, we can say there is fiction whenever there is some kind of narrative that tells, or shows, us that something is happening. That’s why, in my recent work, I have mostly been interested in exploring the edges of fiction, the edge between nothing happens and something happens.”

A Conversation with Pedro Costa

Stefan Ramstedt, Martin Grennberger, 2015
CONVERSATION
26.10.2015
EN

When you watch a film like Farrebique [Georges Rouquier, 1946] you see a lot of things, there is an incredible number of things you see per second and they were there, they existed. That’s the most incredible thing; everything existed on the screen. I don’t know if it’s just me, or the power of documentary, or life being so raw... I think we’re losing a lot of stuff, every day. We’re losing the ability, the craft, we don’t know how to use our minds and our tools – myself included. What we see mostly today is a million ways of escaping a confrontation with reality.

Pedro Costa, 2000
Vertaald door Elias Grootaers
COMPILATION
04.10.2017
NL

“Maar is Mudar de vida niet, ondanks alle stoutmoedigheid, een bijna antimoderne film? De dialogen zijn een soort van parelsnoer die een ritme, een cadans eisen, geleid met harde hand ... De zee en de rivier, in hun tegenstellingen, laten geen overtolligheid of stijlfiguren toe, het drama komt voort uit het verleden, het heden is ‘ternauwernood’ een heropzoeken van mensen, van plaatsen en van oude gevoelens.”

João Bénard da Costa, 2000
ARTICLE
22.11.2023
EN

It will take me a bit longer to love Vanda, but how can I say “no” to someone who says “yes” to everyone, to someone with the most beautiful shots in the film and, always or nearly always, with the list of yellow pages on her lap, as dazzling as the light from “chasing the dragon” in the dark or the silver lying about in every drawer, so luminously punctuating the film?

A Conversation with Pedro Costa on In Vanda’s Room

Cyril Neyrat, Andy Rector, 2008
CONVERSATION
22.11.2023
EN

Cyril Neyrat: What is the origin of In Vanda’s Room

Pedro Costa: Considering the film as it is now, the form it has, it can only come from things like tiredness and disgust. Not from a search. Nor from a rupture, in the sense of a film that you make by saying to yourself: “I’ve got an idea, I’m going to make a film with this form, in this environment.” It surely comes from the years before cinema, from something other than cinema. It doesn’t come from childhood but surely from adolescence, in other words from the bedroom.

Jacques Rancière, 2011
ARTICLE
02.06.2014
NL

Het is gebruikelijk om mensen die gekozen hebben om in hun werk te spreken over ellende eraan te herinneren dat ellende geen voorwerp is voor de kunst. Pedro Costa lijkt echter het volkomen tegenovergestelde te doen. Hij mist geen enkele kans om de leefruimtes van deze miserabele mensen te veranderen in objecten van kunst. Een plastieken waterfles, een mes, een glas, enkele objecten achtergelaten op een vurenhouten tafel in een gekraakt appartement: ziedaar, onder een strelend licht, de gelegenheid voor een mooi stilleven.

Jacques Rancière, 2015
ARTICLE
08.06.2015
NL FR

Maar is de nabootsing van het leven niet juist datgene wat, of men het nu wil of niet, de cinematografische kunst voortbrengt? Is cinema niet, in onze tijd, net als in de tijd van Douglas Sirk of van Jacques Tourneur, de bevoorrechte ruimte om de verhouding tussen het echte leven en de verhalen van fantomen, ontsnapt uit het verleden of uit een andere wereld, te onderzoeken?

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