Directed by Pedro Costa
Portugal / 124 mins / PG
Pedro Costa’s seventh feature film sheds light on the underbelly yet again. Vitalina Varela follows a recently-widowed Cape Verdean woman who goes to Portugal for the first time to attend her husband’s funeral. Bitterness is plenty as she comes to know his life through the post-mortem condolences and theatrics that follow.
The film’s meditative and foreboding rhythm is kept alive through stellar art direction and acting. Dramatic chiaroscuro lighting keeps viewers’ gaze on the characters’ grief and sorrow, while crisp sound design gives away only what the film wants to. Vitalina Varela is a true story and the eponymous non-actor won Best Actress at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival for the role.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Pedro Costa is one of the pioneers of slow cinema, making post-colonial cinematic masterpieces on immigration and poverty. His works though dark, dreamy and desperate, bring beauty to the most unlikely places and humanism to filmmaking. Previous works by the Portugese director include In Vanda’s Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006).
CAST & INFORMATION
Cape Verdean Creole, Portugese
Abel Ribeiro Chaves
Vitalina Varela, Ventura, Manuel Tavares Almeida, Francisco Brito, Imídio Monteiro, Marina Alves Domingues
Pedro Costa, Vitalina Varela
OPTEC Sociedade Óptica Técnica
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