The lives Pedro Costa chooses to film in Lisbons Fontainhas slum play out against a landscape of cramped, darkened rooms
illuminated by single unshaded bulbs or bits of sunlight piercing through cracks in walls. It is a place where parents reject their children and wives turn out their husbands. Dirt and disease are everywhere. Strange fires burn untended in the streets. The six features and three shorts in this NWFF retrospective (through Wed., Dec. 12) owe something to Chaplin, Bresson, and Ozu. This is filmmaking that doesnt merely reflect reality but sees past it, to the very essence of
human desire and suffering and, finally, a kind of spiritual grace. Indeed, to watch the films of Pedro Costa is to behold a cinema at once ineffably modern yet unassailably classical, and that is but one of their glorious paradoxes. The series begins with his 1989 debut feature, The Blood, a black-and-white, noir-fed fever dream about two brothers left to fend for themselves when their father disappears. Or is murdereddepending on what you make of the typically oblique Costa image of what may be a human body being dragged into a lake under cover of darkness. See www.nwfilmforum.org for
full schedule and details.
Mon., Dec. 3, 7:15 & 9:15 p.m., 2007