26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Vitalina Varela
Vitalina Varela
Vitalina Varela
Vitalina Varela
Vitalina Varela

Vitalina Varela

director: Pedro Costa
original title: Vitalina Varela
country: Portugal
year: 2019
running time: 124 min.


Vitalina Varela, a 55-year-old woman from Cape Verde, arrives in Lisbon to sort out the affairs of her husband, who moved suddenly to Portugal twenty-five years ago and died three days before she could reach him. The grim hypnotic microcosm of the now defunct Fontainhas neighborhood, through which the grieving heroine navigates in an attempt to capture whatever is left of her husband, is filled with lost souls and emptied rooms that are engulfed in stunning darkness. The imagery of Costa's suggestive portrait of the Cape Verde diaspora is underlined by static compositions and the ubiquitous chiaroscuro.
„I think she wanted to stay in this moment, this moment of mourning. She was going through the worst, most painful moment of her life and I was proposing for her to organize, to work out and reveal these terrible feelings and emotions, to turn all of it into a film.“ P. Costa


Portuguese director Pedro Costa (1958) studied history at the University of Lisbon and took film courses at the Lisbon Theater and Film School. He has worked as an assistant director for Jorge Silva Melo, Vítor Gonçalves, and João Botelha. In Costa’s films, often set in real locations in Lisbon and exquisite in their ascetic visual style, he teeters on the boundaries of documentary and fiction, captures the fates of those on the fringes of society.

more about film

director: Pedro Costa
cast: Vitalina Varela, Ventura
producer: Abel Ribeiro Chaves
script: Vitalina Varela, Pedro Costa
photography: Leonardo Simões
editing: João Dias, Vítor Carvalho
sound: João Gazua
sound Design: Hugo Leitão
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
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Kraj Vysočina
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