March 31, 2010

PODCAST: Pedro Costa

Pedro Costa

This week, the Criterion Collection releases Letters From Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa, a rigorous, stunning and internationally acclaimed trilogy spanning 1997 through 2006:

One of the most important artists on the international film scene today, Portuguese director Pedro Costa has been steadily building an impressive body of work since the late eighties. And these are the three films that put him on the map: spare, painterly portraits of battered, largely immigrant lives in the slums of Fontainhas, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon. Hypnotic, controlled works, Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth confirm Costa as a provocative new cinematic poet, one who locates beauty in the most unlikely of places.

From Lisbon, Costa spoke with me about gaining the "strange password, or key to open" the films in this lost-souls trilogy, choosing to lose time as a filmmaker, the peculiarities of screenwriting in a Portuguese creole, and what he's learned from Vanda—the former heroin junkie who has featured in all three films.

To listen to the podcast, click here. (23:15)

Podcast Music
INTRO: Young Marble Giants: "Colossal Youth"
OUTRO: Cesária Évora: "Cabo Verde Manda Mantenha"

Bookmark and Share

Posted by ahillis at March 31, 2010 10:57 PM


Fantastic podcast interview, Aaron! What I found really interesting today is that I tried to find more info on Fontainhas, and barely any information exists about the area besides what is documented in these films. Even the wikipedia article only yields a small blurb. Loved OSSOS and can't wait to watch the rest of the set.

What is the author's name mentioned in this podcast? Vollman?

Posted by: maian at April 13, 2010 11:11 AM

Thanks! Yeah, William T. Vollman. He's a novelist and essayist, probably best known in recent years for his McSweeney's-published, mammoth multi-volume treatise on violence called "Rising Up and Rising Down." It's over 3,000 pages, or something like that. I've only ever read some of his contributions to the New Yorker, Spin and maybe the NY Times (?), but trusted friends have told me his books are worth delving into.

Posted by: Aaron Hillis at April 13, 2010 11:31 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?