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Colossal Youth (Juventude em Marcha)

Colossal Youth (Juventude em Marcha)
Film Format: 
Costa, Pedro
Vanda Duarte
Film Reviews: 

All of Pedro Costa's films reside in a netherworld between documentary and fiction, and many of them are awesome. Where Lies Your Hidden Smile? (2001), an account of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet editing one of their films, feels very intimate, though the subjects were also being observed by students (whose presence is elided by Costa). And the exquisitely composed, naturally lit chiaroscuro of Colossal Youth (2006), shot in the surviving ruins of one Lisbon slum and around a high-rise in another, combines realism and expressionism, Louis Lumiere and Jacques Tourneur. It was cowritten by the nonprofessional, marginal, mainly nonwhite cast; rehearsed and shot in multiple takes; then edited down from 320 hours to 155 minutes over a period of 15 months. It's unlike anything else I've seen—mysterious, exalted, demanding, leisurely paced, and very beautiful—and you're bound to either love it or hate it....Costa even discourages identification by refusing to shoot reverse angles, Hollywood’s conventional way of drawing us into the characters’ space. But it’s hard to be indifferent toward these characters and what they do (or don’t do). Costa combines Straub and Huillet’s fanatical belief in capturing material reality with a more disembodied search for spiritual essence found in some chamber works by Tourneur and Dreyer. What emerges from this apparent contradiction is a passageway designed for coming and going, not a simple portal that opens onto “the truth.” Rather than charge onto the premises, we go back and forth to get our bearings, and Costa’s beautifully constructed sounds and images are our guide and not a destination. For all their difficulty, and despite the fact they build on older work, Costa’s films are the cinema of the future, partly because of their intimate scale. As we get to know them better, they steadily grow in stature.[Johnathan Rosenbaum]

Date Arrival: 
15 December 2011

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