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Casa de Lava

Pedro Costa
Portugal, France 1994 / 110’
Blood Bones

When asked "What's next?" Costa says he doesn't know. To the rescue comes Paulo Branco-he had produced films by Bartas, de Oliveira, Wenders and Monteiro, among others-suggesting that they do "something in Africa." Costa needs a volcano, and he finds one on Fogo, one of the Cape Verde islands in the former Portuguese colony. Underlying the film are feelings of uncertainty, disappointment with himself and discouragement stemming from the political and social situation in the country, as well as the idea of filming a remake of Jacques Tourneur's beloved I Walked with a Zombie (1943). In short, it's an escape. The main protagonist in Casa de Lava is a young nurse who is taking a "zombie" (Isaach De Bankolé)-a comatose Cape Verdean worker who fell from scaffolding in Lisbon-back to the island. Mariana (Inês de Medeiros) ends up with stuck his inert body, as there is no one to take him off her hands. All around her is the kind of emptiness one might expect to see in the wake of a plague. Nobody admits to knowing the man, as if all his relationships have been buried beneath a layer of dust. Before Mariana is able to find anything out, she will have to get off the main road and abandon her confidence and strength. But it is not the girl in the red dress that will trigger the real revolution.

Agnieszka Szeffel


  • Thessaloniki FF 1994 - Special Artistic Achievement
  • Entrevues FF 1994 – Grand Prix

Pedro Costa

Born in Lisbon (1959), he left his course of studies in History to attend classes taught by the poet and filmmaker António Reis at the Lisbon Film School. His first film Blood (O Sangue) had its world premiere at the Mostra Cinematografica di Venezia in 1989. Casa de Lava, his second feature, shot in Cabo Verde, was shown in Cannes, in 1994. Some of his other feature films include Bones (Ossos), In Vanda's Room (No Quarto da Vanda) and Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (Où gît votre sourire enfoui?) on the work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. He directed Sweet Exorcist, a segment of the omnibus feature Centro Histórico, with Manoel de Oliveira, Aki Kaurismäki and Víctor Erice. His work has been presented in galeries and museums around the world. Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro) was awarded the Leopard for best direction at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2014.


1987 Cartas a Julia (short)

1990 Krew / O Sangue / Blood

1994 Dom z lawy / Casa de Lava / Down to Earth

1997 Kości / Ossos / Bones

2000 W pokoju Wandy / No Quarto da Vanda / In Vanda's Room

2001 Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub, cinéastes (odcinek Cinéastes, de notre temps, TV serie)

2002 Gdzie spoczywa twój uśmiech? / Onde Jaz o Teu Sorriso? / Où gît votre sourire enfoui? / Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?

2003 6 bagatelas (short)

2006 Pochód młodości / Juventude Em Marcha / Colossal Youth

2007 Tarrafal (short in O Estado do Mundo / The State of the World)

2007 Łowcy królików / The Rabbit Hunters (short in Memories, Jeonju Digital Project)

2009 Ne change rien

2010 O Nosso Homem / Our Man (short)

2012 Słodki egzorcysta / Sweet Exorcist / Lamento da Vida Jovem (short in Centro Histórico)

2014 Koń Forsa / Cavalo Dinheiro / Horse Money

2018 Vitalina Varela

Cast & Crew

director Pedro Costa
screenplay Pedro Costa
cinematography Emmanuel Machuel
editing Dominique Auvray
music Raul Andrade
sound Henri Maïkoff
cast Inês de Medeiros, Isaach de Bankolé, Edith Scob, Pedro Hestnes, Sanda do Canto Brandão, Cristiano Andrade Alves, Raul Andrade, João Medina, António Andrade, Manuel Andrade
producer Paulo Branco
production Madragoa Filmes, Pandora Film, Gemini Films
sales Pedro Costa
language Portuguese, Creole
colouration colour