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Pedro Costa
Portugal, France, Germany 1997 / 94’
Casa de Lava In Vanda's Room

When Pedro Costa comes up with the idea of returning to Fogo, the island's inhabitants ask him for a small favor: they give him a bag of small gifts-coffee, tea, tobacco, letters-for their relatives in Lisbon. He has to seek them out in Fontainhas, an African village in the center of the city, a slum neighborhood inhabited by Cape Verdeans, where he ends up staying for years. This is where morality begins, where politics begin, where sounds become feelings and where there is either too much or too little of everything, where there is no balance. Bones is his latest film (of this type), shot from the point of view of a tourist after a year spent in the company of gangsters, dealers and junkies. The fictional story, a melancholy melodrama about young parents and a child that they don't know what to do with-show they sell, kill or abandon it?-is a pretext for a story about Fontainhas, about strong, rough-and-tumble girls and a boy whose gentle nature and radiating maternal aura make him into a Madonna with child. The intensity with which Costa immerses himself in their cramped world is a precursor to his own personal transformation.

Agnieszka Szeffel


  • Venice IFF 1997 - Best Cinematography
  • Entrevues FF 1997 - 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 Jackie Bastide
sound Henri Maïkoff
cast Vanda Duarte, Nuno Vaz, Maria Lipkina, Isabel Ruth, Inês de Medeiros, Miguel Sermão, Berta Susana Teixeira, Clotilde Montron, Zita Duarte, Beatriz Lopes
producer Paulo Branco
production Madragoa Filmes, Zentopa, Gemini Films
sales Pedro Costa
language Portuguese, Creole
colouration colour