International Competition

In Vanda’s Room

No Quarto da Vanda
- PORTUGAL, GERMANY, SWITZERLAND / 2000 / Portuguese / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 180 min

Director, Script, Photography: Pedro Costa
Editing: Dominique Auvray
Sound: Philippe Morel, Matthieu Imbert
Cast: Vanda Duarte, Zita Duarte, Lena Duarte, Antonio Semedo Moreno, Paulo Nunes
Producers: Francisco Villa-Lobos, Karl Baumgartner, Andres Pfaeffli
Production Companies: Contracosta Produçoes, Pandora Film Production, Ventura Film
Source: Contracosta Produçoes
Ruo do Vale Formoso no. 108 1° 1900-830 Lisbon PORTUGAL
Phone & Fax: 351-21-868-8256
E-mail: contracosta@mail.telepac.pt

In 1997, director Pedro Costa made the feature film Ossos about the fate of one family. Later he returned to the film’s location, an immigrant district of Lisbon, to make this sequel-of-sorts. A camera crew follows Vanda Duarte of Ossos over the course of one year. We see a tiny room measuring only three meters in all directions, the events that occur and reoccur daily in it, visits from friends and relatives and days passed in the thrall of drugs, and sit transfixed by the bleakness of Vanda’s one bed apartment, and the gradual destruction of the surrounding buildings.

[Director’s Statement] I always think that documentary exists fiction and vice versa. What I am interested is narration. A film is not air; it has to have reasons. ( . . . )

When I entered the Fontainhas area, there were colors and smells that made me remember the things and events of the past, and also ideas about people to which I am attracted. These ideas nestled close to each other, living together even as they led very solitary lives because of violent and painful separation. A form of interesting and incompatible relationships existed in this. ( . . . )

I made this film for Vanda and for those who were in front of, near and behind me—in other words, for those who showed their various selves to me. Here are many of their places, and their vanishing lives. Vanda will not live that particular year again, and that life does not always exist.

(from Jornal de Letras 7, March, 2001)


- Pedro Costa

Born in Lisbon in 1959. Majored in history and literature at the University of Lisbon. Studied at the National Film School and worked as an assistant director with Joan Botelho and Jorge Silva Melo. In 1984, directed the short film Cartas a Julia. Made his first long film, O Sangue, in 1989. Since then, has received international attention as a leading Protuguese director for Casa de Lava (1994) and Ossos (1997). After In Vanda’s Room, he made Danièle Huilet, Jean-Marie Straub, Cinéastes—Où Gît Votre Sourire Enfoui, a portrait of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huilet, which screened at the 2001 Venice International Film Festival.

• International Competition | Angelos’ Film | A2 | Buenaventura Durruti, Anarchist | Crazy | Days in Those Mountains | La Devinière | Gaea Girls | Grandma’s Hairpin | In Vanda’s Room | The Land of the Wandering Souls | Mysterious Object at Noon | Paragraph 175 | Private Chronicles. Monologue | 6 Easy Pieces | Southern Comfort • Jurors | Hartmut Bitomsky | Bernard Eisenschitz | Ann Hui | Kuroki Kazuo | Ivars Seleckis