Run time: 125 mins
A woman uncovers her deceased husband’s secret life in Pedro Costa’s dark dreamscape
Retelling the true story of a non-professional actor, the Portuguese auteur has chosen Vitalina Varela as his heroine. Travelling from Cape Verde to Portugal, where her husband relocated decades ago, initially promising to send for her once he was settled. Vitalina is determined to track him down and get the answers she has been long been waiting for. However, she is too late, arriving at Lisbon airport just three days after his death. Ignoring a group of women who tell her “there’s nothing here for you”, Vitalina carries on to his shack in a barrio on the outskirts of the city. Isolated in an unfamiliar place and unable to receive closure (uh?) she experiences a series of hallucinatory episodes which offer glimpses into her past. Connecting only with a Parkinsons diseased priest with from her hometown, the film delves into the experiences of lonely souls submerged in the darkness. Costa revels in dark imagery and takes a minimalist approach, with shadowy long shots reflecting the endurance of its protagonist (and perhaps its audience, too). Come, sink into a mysterious reverie. (research Rachel Williams) Or come to make head or tail of it…?