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Still Lives: The Films of Pedro Costa

Saturday, March 1, 2008
6:30 p.m. Colossal Youth
Pedro Costa (Portugal/France/Switzerland, 2006)

Pedro Costa in Person

(Juventude em marcha). The final film in Costa’s loose Fontaínhas trilogy is one of the most remarkable and mysterious city films ever made, a portrait of individuals lost in a razed urban renewal zone that’s at once utterly familiar and totally alien. An exhausted but graceful Cape Verdean named Ventura wanders between the ruins of his old Fontaínhas slum (now destroyed) and the antiseptic new areas where the residents have been relocated, looking for his wife and home but finding only ghosts and memories. There’s little boundary between fiction, documentary, and avant-garde filmmaking here; scenes are united only by the character’s constant search for a place to call home, and by Costa’s astonishing lighting and framing of decaying walls and rugged visages (“as if a direct invocation of Vermeer,” noted Manohla Dargis in the New York Times). “If there were many good movies in Cannes this year, and perhaps even some great ones, Colossal Youth is the only one I would venture to call heroic” (Scott Foundas, LA Weekly).

Colossal Youth is repeated on Saturday, April 12.

—Jason Sanders

• Photographed by Costa, Leonardo Simões. With Ventura, Vanda Duarte, Beatriz Duarte, Gustavo Sumpta. (155 mins, In Portuguese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Pedro Costa)