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Vitalina Varela

Vitalina Varela
Movie: Vitalina Varela(2020)[tt8241872] Vitalina Varela takes its title from the name of its lead actress, a Cape Verdean woman who, as per usual with Costa's non-professional actors, plays a fictionalized version of herself. Vitalina first appeared in an episode in the director's previous film, Horse Money (Wavelengths 2015), wherein she recounted how her husband had left their homeland nearly 25 years ago to work in Lisbon - a separation that became permanent when she finally arrived on the continent, three days after his funeral. In Vitalina Varela, Costa refracts and expands that episode to place us firmly within his heroine's stoic point of view, capturing her extraordinary strength and resilience as she navigates the scanty physical traces her husband left behind, discovers his secret, illicit life, and encounters the other lives that darken the shadows of the Fontainhas that once was. Written byToronto International Film Festival
Title Vitalina Varela
Release Date 6 March 2020 (UK)
Runtime
Genres Drama
Production Companies Optec

Reviews

JoshuaDysart on 13 May 2020
An expressionistic melancholy spell. Painstakingly composed and beautifully lit. The texture and hues of the images are remarkable.The images do very little of the storytelling beyond place, space, and tone. The story itself is almost completely orally told. Even then, words emerge after long ambient soundscapes of unseen "slum life" always just happening beyond the image's frames or on the other side of walls.Whether it's day or night, it's almost always pitch, with pinpoint spotlighting illuminating only parts of this desolate world and the striking faces that occupy it. Most of the image is in consummate shadow. Until the end, when, finally, emerging from out of our mourning, we begin to see daylight and sky. Most of this sky is in memory, but not all.The pacing is so languid and the creative choices so deliberate that we have plenty of time to live inside the images and moments.I felt there was some Bergman here: the disenchanted priest; the memory haunted spaces and characters; the faces floating in darkness, only their eyes revealing the depths of their emotional experiences.You are forgiven for thinking that this film is boring or could be shorter. You are forgiven for thinking that it is perfect as it is, even somehow fragile; that it creates the exact effect on the viewer that is intended.You are forgiven for thinking and feeling anything you've ever thought and felt, as long as you turn your face towards kindness from this moment forward... but you must do it quick, before the credits roll.

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