Blood (1989) - Pedro Costa
Vicente, a seventeen year-old, lives with his brother Nino, a ten year-old, and his dying father in a decrepit home on the outskirts of the city. Their father isn't a great man by any stretch of the imagination, owing money to the wrong people but Vincente and Nino care for him deeply. When their father finally succumbs to his ailments, Vincent and Clara, a primary school assistant who Vincente is romantically involved with, cover up his death in an effort to ease Nino's sorrow. This leads to visits from various individuals, most notably their uncle and the group of men in which their father owes money, both of whom in very different ways threaten to separate Vincente and Nino. Pedro Costa's Blood is a magnificently photographed exploration of what it means to be family, dealing with themes Costa would further explore in his later work. The film centers around the trauma and inevitable violence which displacement can have on an individual, capturing the isolation associated with longing. This is a film thats narrative is intentionally a bit murky, with the intentions of many characters throughout the film unclear, intensifying the isolation and trauma felt by Vincente after the death of his father. One cannot talk about Blood without mentioning the beautifully stark black and white cinematography, that uses contrast, shadows, and lighting that is visionary, reminiscent of the films of Carl Dreyer. This isn't just a pretty film but a film that uses lighting to illicit mood, with blacks that devour and whites that burn into the characters' souls. While some of his later films are far more mature thematically, Pedro Costa's Blood is an incredible first feature that only hinted at the type of filmmaker the man would become.
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