Vitalina Varela

classified 12A S

Films That Love the Cinema


Please note: This was screened in Sept 2020

Pedro Costa
Vitalina Varela, Ventura, Manuel Tavares Almeida
124 mins, Subtitled, 2019

Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa (Horse Money) returns with a moody drama based on the real-life experiences of Cape Verdean star Vitalina Varela - who waited 25 years for a plane ticket to join her husband in Lisbon, only to discover she just missed his funeral.

Costa follows Vitalina (playing a version of herself) as she arrives on her long-overdue flight to collect her husband's effects and begin to come to terms with the circumstances of his life and her own grief. Alone and isolated, Vitalina is determined to persevere and confront the ghosts of the past.

Shot in a beautiful, painterly style, this mesmerising contemplation of grief, race and exile picked up Best Film and Best Actress at last year's Locarno Film Festival. Indiewire recently said of the film: "Few directors paint with such a singular brush... Costa empowers his subjects by framing them as majestic storytellers and letting their stories take charge".