Scanning through the yellow pages of a phonebook, searching for the bits of crack residue that may have been left long ago, our hero, Vanda, lets out a cough for the ages. The sound is a proclamation of unbearable junkie misery, and a ferociously lived in human reality—one that the camera and its operator, the Portuguese director Pedro Costa, refuses to romanticize. This moment, and many more bleak fragments of transcendence, make up In Vanda's Room
, the second film in Costa's trilogy of life and near-death in a shantytown outside of Lisbon. Next week Criterion will release these rarely screened masterworks as a four-disc box set, called "Letters from Fontainhas." Read More
Is there really anything to say about this master filmmaker which could be more persuasive than Jean-Luc Godard's famous proclamation that "The cinema is Nicholas Ray?"
The retrospective at Film Forum, which began with a week-long engagement of In a Lonely Place
, and which runs through August 6 with fourteen other films, is a gift to the residents of Manhattan and its outer-lying boroughs. Undoubtedly a peculiar type of gift, the kind that you might not seek out on your own, the type which can only come from your bohemian uncle, the family pariah you've admired since adolescence.
Surveying some of the titles in the series—Bitter Victory
(1957), They Live by Night
(1949), On Dangerous Ground
(1951), Born to be Bad
(1950), Bigger Than L… Read More