Pedro Costa: In Vanda's Room (No Quarto da Vanda)

In Vanda’s Room (No Quarto da Vanda), Pedro Costa, 167’,  Portugal / Germany, ZDF 19.2.2001, OV with German subtitles

With the film Ossos, filmmaker Pedro Costa makes his way to the Fontainhas neighbourhood in Lisbon, which will dominate his film work from here on. He will return time and again to work with the residents of the Cape Verdean community on narratives that oscillate like film poetry between fiction and reality. “The stretching of time, the modelling of light and shadow and an extremely elliptical narrative style with leaps in time characterise Costa’s Fontainhas films,” it says in an Arsenal text. Vanda Duarte, with whom Costa has worked in the past as a lay actress, becomes the central figure in this film and her room the centre of a universe made up of drug addiction and poverty, but also friendship and closeness. It is a timeless room into which the noise of the demolition excavators penetrates from the outside.

Pedro Costa (*1959) is a well-known Portuguese filmmaker. He first made several films before turning his attention to the immigrant neighbourhood of Fontainhas in Lisbon with a hybrid-artistic trilogy that received great international acclaim and won many awards. The second part of the trilogy, In Vanda’s Room (2000), was made in cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel. For his other feature films, Costa was awarded, among others, the Golden Leopard in Locarno.