Screening Dates

This screening has been cancelled due to The Cinematheque's temporary closure in response to concerns around COVID-19. Up-to-date information can be found here.

New Cinema

“A plaintive and piercingly beautiful vision … Pedro Costa is one of our planet’s two or three greatest living filmmakers.”

Christopher Small, Sight & Sound

At last year’s Locarno Film Festival, jury president Catherine Breillat, upon bestowing the Golden Lion to Portuguese master Pedro Costa’s tremendous Vitalina Varela, remarked: “This prize isn’t enough, though we give it unanimously. We were all stunned, overwhelmed, by this film — a major film in the history of cinema from here on out.” Months later, a decennial TIFF poll declared it one of the decade’s finest, the only picture from 2019 with the distinction. Suffice to say, Costa’s latest is a bona fide masterpiece, maybe even his chef d'oeuvre. Set in the slums of Lisbon’s now-dismantled Fontainhas district (a familiar milieu for Costa), the film centres on a Cape Verdean woman lingering in the haunted, derelict home of her dead husband, a man absent from her life for 25 years. The eponymous Varela, a revelation, plays a semi-fictitious version of herself. Costa’s ravishing, chiaroscuro compositions, long synonymous with the painterly auteur, have never before contained such sorrow or profound beauty.

“Masterful … Pedro Costa has made his most beautiful, haunting film yet.”

Jordan Cronk, Film Comment

“The best film of 2019.”

James Quandt
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