Pedro Costa at Festival dei Popoli

Retrospective and masterclass with one of the absolute masters of Cinema today, Portuguese Pedro Costa, at the legendary Festival dei Popoli that starts in two days. The festival site has this introduction to Costa:

“To go back on Pedro Costa’s filmography means first of all to follow the mutations and changes, film after film, of his recurring characters, such as Vanda Duarte, Ventura, and Vitalina Varela. The bodies change, decline, and as years go by expose the truth of time, which carves the marks of grief and pain on them. Real bodies that incarnate collective traumas, a theme that has always haunted the cinema of the Portuguese director. 

Costa is not seeking mercy for the last; he shows their power, their almost sacred dimension with its transfiguring potential, reminiscent of Pasolini. Each of Pedro’s shots is therefore potentially documentary, precisely because it is in search of a truth of the world by submitting spaces (Cabo Verde, or the Fontainhas neighbourhood) to a transformation process. At this juncture, enter the other great ‘character’ of his cinema: black. In Costa’s films, the bodies and spaces are sources of light surrounded by darkness. Black, however, is not an ornamental choice or aesthetic mannerism: on the contrary, it descends from a precise theoretical decision. 

Black is the truest and deepest offscreen space of film. Time falls in it and hides, swallowed by a present without memory that pushes nonetheless to come to the surface. In black lies grief; the traumas and sorrows of the past have settled on it. Light and white (like the hospital in Cavalo dinheiro or the new houses in Juventude em marcha) thus become the obliteration of time, the aseptic sign of obliviousness.”

The festival also welcomes other big names like Ulrich Seidl and Liv Ullmann. Photo of Costa from the site of the festival

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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