Acephale Acephale

Vitalina Varela

Portugal – 2019 – 124′

The most recent film from Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa is another moody, masterful portrait of Fontainhas, the now-vanished Lisbon neighbourhood that the director first began chronicling over two decades ago with the masterful trilogy of Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth. Taking its title from the name of its lead — a Cape Verdean woman who, as per usual with Costa’s non-professional actors, plays a fictionalized version of herself — Vitalina Varela follows its stoic heroine as she arrives in Lisbon to collect the effects of her husband, who had left their homeland 25 years ago to work in Portugal and died three days before Vitalina could reach him. Following its protagonist as she navigates the scanty physical traces her husband left behind and encounters the other souls that haunt the tenebrous tenements, alleys, and forests of the Fontainhas that once was, Vitalina Varela plays out as a series of burnished, painterly still lifes, rendering the nightmarish reality of the African diaspora and the harrowing legacy of racial and colonial violence as a dreamlike portrait of the living dead.  -Andréa Picard


Dans l’obscurité somptueuse d’un quartier traversé d’ombres hiératiques, soudain le rouge de draps sanglants. Arrivée trop tard, Vitalina Varela n’a plus qu’à gérer les affaires de son mari défunt. Elle ne pleurera pour aucun malheureux: face aux hommes rongés ou déchus, elle s’attelle à rebâtir, plan après plan, mur après mur, contre la triste réalité d’une vie n’ayant pu se construire au Portugal sous un toit décent, le souvenir d’une solide maison commune au Cap-Vert. – Antoine Thirion

Buy/Acheter Rent/Louer
  • Director /Réalisateur

Pedro Costa

  • Festivals

Locarno Film Festival (Golden Leopard, Best Film, Best Actress )

New York Film Festival, Toronto, Vancouver, FNC

  • Quotes/Critques

‘Vitalina Varela’ Review: Another Ravishing, Masterful Vision From Pedro Costa – Indiewire

  •   Stills/Images

Share Project :