Search The Archive

Search the film archive

Now magnificently restored, Pedro Costa’s oneiric debut film declared the arrival of an essential new voice in world cinema.

Sickly Nino and his older brother Vicente struggle to fend for themselves when their father mysteriously disappears, leaving them to contend with a legacy of violence and financial debt. Vicente’s friend Clara soon joins their new family unit, and the trio take care of one another until they are threatened by the men their father owed money to and by an uncle who decides Nino would be better off with him.

Costa (Vitalina Varela, MIFF 2020; Horse Money, MIFF 2015) spent several years as an assistant to other Portuguese filmmakers before making his debut in 1989, aged 30, with the mysterious and radically poetic Blood. Comprised of stirring, stark black-and-white images in studiously composed tableaux, the film reveals the extent of Costa’s cinematic knowledge as well as the undeniable influence of Jacques Tourneur, Nicholas Ray and Robert Bresson. Mostly importantly, however, this opus of shadows and loss incarnated his wholly unique vision of the ways in which people truly live in an unforgiving world.

“Everything here feels essential and archetypal, as painful rites of passage are played out in the forms of mystery. A debut from a talent fully formed … As delicate, beautiful and elusive as childhood itself.” – Eye for Film