Vitalina Varela ★★★★★

Costa continues the transformation he began to effect on his own cinema in Horse Money, reshaping the slums of Lisbon from a realistically understood and concretized space into an oneiric nightmare suspended in the inhospitable threshold between the trauma of history and the myriad personal traumas of the dispossessed residents. shoddy cement structures rise like crooked tombstones and reach into what seems to be an eternal darkness, while the lines between interior and exterior disintegrate, each building seemingly bleeding into other spaces even as ghosts from without inevitably penetrate them. but Vitalina herself refuses to be cowed by spirits: her continued existence seems as much for the sake of redressing the sins of men as for her own sake. she weathers an inhuman house which rejects her at every turn while outside the end of days seems at once to be happening and on the precipice of happening, eternally, rain and wind raging even as Vitalina's labor attempts to draw life out of the death which surrounds her. she has faith that a house is being built; there will be a place to live

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