by Ryland Walker Knight
As I write up each day of the series I'll update this post with links to the essays at The House. So far, so good. Coming out of Day 2 I said to my friend, I'm just so out of practice watching this kind of cinema that it adds another layer of difficulty to my project. Still, it's kind of exciting. And the films are very good, if not my usual (preferred) brand of cinema. I forget who lumped Costa in with "the European miserablists" like Béla Tarr, but, even though that label is kind of silly (and maybe misguided), I would say it speaks to the other part of my difficulty with these films beyond my expected attention span problems: shit is kinda grim. However, and this is a rash generalization, I see Costa's project as much more affirmative than the little I've seen of Tarr, which has me excited to see where the series goes from here. Stay tuned! [3/3/08]
UPDATE 3/12/08: The past weekend, full of movies, was great. But I didn't get time to finish all my Costa work as promptly as I'd have liked, given other obligations, to so my coverage is a bit delayed. We're hoping my next two will hit the webwaves shortly, though. A quick final thought before a longer collection of final thoughts: it was a great week of cinema, a pleasant diversion from my American genre work of late. In Vanda's Room is a special thing. I wish I wasn't in school so I could have gone home right away to write but homework and friendship and The Wire certainly got in the way.
- Day 1: Colossal Youth
- Michael Guillen threw up a post called Pedro Costa Next Stop in advance of the series' debut. It's got a ton of helpful, and delightful, links to peruse.
- Rob Davis got his count on Saturday night: the camera moves (via pans) at least five times, not two or three like I thought.
- Andy Rector's got a lot of cool stuff to look at.
- Day 2: Blood and Bones, "Ne change rien"
- A great clip from Casa de Lava that makes me think of Claire Denis and her editing prowess. Has there been any work done about these two filmmakers?
- I'll go ahead and add another link to that fabulous lecture Costa delivered, "A Closed Door That Leaves Us Guessing," published by Adrian Martin over at ROUGE. That's love.
- Poems for the month (visual style): Untitled 1, Lafia / Où gît votre sourire enfoui?, Costa
- Harry Tuttle's got all the links you could ever want or need in this mega post. (Makes me look bad!)
- Day 3: Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? and Sicilia! with "6 Bagatelas"
- Day 4: In Vanda's Room
- Dig this post at videoarcardia by David Pratt-Robson called Approaching Colossal Youth -- a strong understanding of Costa's films and their relationship to John Ford.
Day 5: Regent's Lecture & Casa de Lava [link coming Friday, we hope]
UPDATE 4/2/08: Michael Guillen's lengthy interview with Costa was finally published over at GreenCine today. As his last posts (one & two) on the retro covered the films the last day of the event offered, I slacked on writing them up. Now that we have this interview I have decided to forgo writing up Casa de Lava and Tarrafal at this moment because my calendar is so swamped with thesis work and film screenings I find unmissable (irresistible), like A Grin Without A Cat tonight at PFA -- et Ne Touchez Pas La Hache demain soir au Shattuck. So, in a way to wrap up my experience, I will say I enjoyed the break from routine Costa's films provided and I look forward to revisiting the Fountainhas Trilogy once it gets the Criterion treatment, whenever that is. Maybe then I can write the essay that In Vanda's Room deserves. Here's two images (one stolen, bald-faced, from Darren Hughes) that kinda-maybe summarize the impression the series left on me. Keep looking.