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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Letters from Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa

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One of the most important artists on the international film scene today, Portuguese director Pedro Costa has been steadily building an impressive body of work since the late eighties. And these are the three films that put him on the map: spare, painterly portraits of battered, largely immigrant lives in the slums of Fontainhas, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon. Hypnotic, controlled works, Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth confirm Costa as a provocative new cinematic poet, one who locates beauty in the most unlikely of places.

Ossos

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After a suicidal teenage girl gives birth, she misguidedly entrusts her baby’s safety to the troubled, deadbeat father. The first film in Pedro Costa’s transformative trilogy about Fontainhas, an impoverished quarter of Lisbon, Ossos is a tale of young lives torn apart by desperation.

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In Vanda's Room

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With the intimate feel of a documentary and the texture of a Vermeer painting, Pedro Costa’s In Vanda’s Room takes an unflinching, fragmentary look at a handful of self-destructive, marginalized people, but is centered around the heroin-addicted Vanda Duarte.

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Colossal Youth

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Many of the lost souls of Ossos and In Vanda’s Room return in the spectral landscape of Colossal Youth, which brings to Pedro Costa’s Fontainhas films a new theatrical, tragic grandeur. This time, Costa focuses on Ventura, an elderly immigrant from Cape Verde living in Lisbon.

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DIRECTOR-APPROVED FOUR-DVD SET FEATURES:

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer of Ossos, supervised by director Pedro Costa; new digital transfers of In Vanda’s Room and Colossal Youth
- New video conversations between Costa and filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin about Ossos and Colossal Youth
- Audio commentary for In Vanda’s Room featuring Costa and Gorin
- Selected-scene audio commentary by critic Cyril Neyrat and author-philosopher Jacques Rancière for Colossal Youth
- Video interviews with critic João Bénard da Costa and cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel about Ossos
- Video essay by artist Jeff Wall on Ossos
- All Blossoms Again, a feature-length documentary on Costa and the making of Colossal Youth
- Tarrafal and The Rabbit Hunters, two short films by Costa
- Little Boy Male, Little Girl Female, a video installation piece by Costa featuring outtakes from In Vanda’s Room and Colossal Youth
- Photographs by Mariana Viegas and Richard Dumas
- Theatrical trailers
- New and improved English subtitle translations of all the films
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critics Cyril Neyrat, Luc Sante, Thom Anderson, and Mark Peranson, as well as a reprint by Bernard Eisenschitz


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:28 pm 
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Robert de la Cheyniest wrote:
Over at Matt Zoller Seitz's blog The House Next Door, contributor Ryland Walker Knight attended a recent Costa retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive. Apparently, they announced at one of the screenings that Criterion is working on some of Costa's films:

Quote:
Last Sunday Kathy Geritz said that "the Criterion Collection is planning on releasing Pedro's films... in the fall, probably."

I don't want to get too excited just yet, but... =D>

it seems the perfect sort of thing for Eclipse. overlooked (at least in the USA) and in need of exposure (overlooked and lack of exposure often go hand-in-hand, but are in not necessarily linked).

I certainly hope that this rumor is true.

I just sent an e-mail to 'Mr. Mulvaney' regarding this... let's hope for a fast response (although I'm sure I wont hear anything for 2 to 3 months).


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:10 pm 
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If this bit of news turns out to be accurate then this is indeed quite a move for Criterion. Certainly an Eclipse release would be quite intriguing as I have only seen two of the director's films.


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:31 pm 
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Really hope this happens - particularly, I'd love to see In Vanda's Room finally get a video release with English subtitles.


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:53 pm 
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This is incredible news. This would be the most essential release of the year.


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:12 pm 
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I got a reply to my email asking about Pedro Costa's films:

Quote:
Hi Miles,

Thanks for your email! To the best of my knowledge, we don't have any plans for more Tarkovsky at this time. We currently do not have any of Costa's films in the collection, but please check back again about those. And feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!

Sincerely,

Tamara

about the Tarkovsky, I asked if they had any plans for Nostalghia (as I do everytime I send in a question)

but with regards to the Costa... This looks like good news to me. The 'We currently do not have any of Costa's films in the collection' line seems very promising (she could have just as easily shot it down, like the Tarkovsky question). 'chack back again' also seems like a distinct possibility. (it would also make sense to release these on Eclipse, seeming as how they are all digital, I'm sure a transfer would be pretty straight-forward and inexpensive).


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:54 am 
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Quote:
(it would also make sense to release these on Eclipse, seeming as how they are all digital, I'm sure a transfer would be pretty straight-forward and inexpensive)

Costa didn't start using digital until In Vanda's Room. In any event I suspect Criterion would simply take advantage of existing masters, as they presumably are with the Klein set.


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 Post subject: Pedro Costa?
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:23 am 
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Last Friday the Portuguese daily 'Público' ran a 2-page article on Costa's international exposure, stating clearly that:

Quote:
his filmography will be released in DVD everywhere, including by the American Criterion label renowned for its classical titles catalogue and investment on the extras that accompany the movies" and also that "[This year] Criterion will be releasing Costa's movies with specially produced extras and [here's a puzzling bit][i] they own worldwide distribution rights.

I take blame for the above translations. AFAIK there's no online access to this article unless you're a subscriber to the paper but you can always try publico.clix.pt

Slightly OT, the article disclosed other DVD releases in Spain (a 4-disc set), France (Éditions Montparnasse), UK Juventude em Marcha/Colossal Youth (Eureka) and Casa de Lava/Down to Earth (Second Run) and Japan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:19 pm 
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ianungstad wrote:
A member of the .com forum posted that he learned from one of his sources that Criterion will be doing a 3 film Costa set that will include Colossal Youth, No Quarto De Vanda and Ossos. Apparently it is due early next year.

Interesting selection. No Quarto De Wanda is a documentary and no Casa de Lava?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:32 pm 
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Cinephrenic wrote:
Interesting selection. No Quarto De Wanda is a documentary and no Casa de Lava?

It's the so-called 'Vanda trilogy' and therefore makes perfect sense as a selection. In Vanda's Room is not exactly a straight-up 'documentary', and Casa de Lava will probably be released by Second Run at some point.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Then it makes perfect sense if it some kind of a trilogy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:59 am 

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Quote:
In Vanda's Room is not exactly a straight-up 'documentary', and Casa de Lava will probably be released by Second Run at some point.

In Vanda's Room isn't really a documentary at all. There are certainly documentary elements, but the film has the same fiction/documentary hybric structure as Colossal Youth. Also, for those that are interested, Casa de Lava is already available on first-rate Portuguese and French DVDs (put out by the now-defunct Gemini, so these are probably out of print).


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:14 am 
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ptmd wrote:
In Vanda's Room isn't really a documentary at all. There are certainly documentary elements, but the film has the same fiction/documentary hybric structure as Colossal Youth. Also, for those that are interested, Casa de Lava is already available on first-rate Portuguese and French DVDs (put out by the now-defunct Gemini, so these are probably out of print).

That's pretty much what I meant about Vanda. The Gemini discs are indeed way out of print, but Second Run were looking into Casa de Lava earlier this year, so fingers crossed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:23 pm 
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I just received this a few minutes ago

Quote:
We try to announce our new releases as far in advance as possible, however at this time I don't have any new information about the films of Pedro Costa. Thanks for your email!

Best,

JM

So, it's probably coming... but not for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Pedro Costa
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:54 am
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Cinemascope was supposed to give out free DVDs of 'Colossal Youth' to new subscribers, but that didn't happen due to some shady North American rights issues.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Announced. First post updated.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:22 pm 
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Very excited by this release. I'm grateful that the Rossellini War Trilogy box is finally coming out, but devoting the same care and attention to these films is one of the ballsiest things Criterion has done in years (at least until the Brakhage Blu set appears, and who knows, we might even see Gorin in 2010). Bravo!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:27 pm 
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Agreed. Now if only we could extend that pesky 2000s list project deadline until the end of March...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:36 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
Agreed. Now if only we could extend that pesky 2000s list project deadline until the end of March...

I have no idea what you're talking about. [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:43 pm 
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Very nice release, the kind of contemporary stuff that fits like a glove. Bravo!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Costa is way off my radar. From what I've gathered from the net the impression I have is documentary style film making a la Babenco's Pixote. Anyone familiar with these movies?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:26 pm 
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Tribe wrote:
Costa is way off my radar. From what I've gathered from the net the impression I have is documentary style film making a la Babenco's Pixote. Anyone familiar with these movies?


It's documentary in the sense of non-actors in their real-world settings, and not a lot of heavy 'production' added onto it. But the shots are extremely rigorously composed/aestheticized in a way you don't typically find in documentary films. Costa isn't really after 'realism' - he has said he wants Ventura to have the same heroic import as John Wayne in a Ford film.

At any rate - run, don't walk to discover this amazing filmmaker.

Also - In Vanda's Room and Colossal Youth were both shot, if I'm not mistaken, on DV; I'm not sure what Costa used on In Vanda's Room, but Colossal Youth was shot on a Panasonic DVX100. My guess would be he used the PAL model of said camera, which would make the film's native framerate 25fps. If that's the case, then wouldn't that be a good argument in favor of MoC for that one title?


Last edited by Oedipax on Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:11 pm 
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Oedipax wrote:
It's documentary in the sense of non-actors in their real-world settings, and not a lot of heavy 'production' added onto it. But the shots are extremely rigorously composed/aestheticized in a way you don't typically find in documentary films. Costa isn't really after 'realism' - he has said he wants Vanda to have the same heroic import as John Wayne in a Ford film.
That's really interesting. I was considering passing this set up, if just for money woes, but that sort of description raises my eyebrow in delight.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:30 pm 
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Quote:
At any rate - run, don't walk to discover this amazing filmmaker.

Yes! Costa really is one of the world's finest filmmakers, and Criterion seems to have done him justice here. I really wasn't expecting such an abundance of special features, all of which seem to be keeping in line with the rigor of the films at hand. The Gorin-Rancière commentary, the Gorin-Costa interview and the In Vanda's Room installation piece (!) all indicate to me that this will surely end up as a candidate for the year's best box-set.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Right you are! Though I am still dreaming about similar Oshima and Wakamatsu boxed sets, I can't help but I have to agree with you: This might be a really beautiful set.


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