Finding the criminal #1

Conviction, then form. One has to be just in what is shown, what is portrayed. Our generation is weak, we lack conviction. Our films are weak: they have three hundred ideas rather than one.

--notebook fragments from a talk by Pedro Costa at Ciné lumière, London, April 2008.

We shall not speak of a realistic manner of writing only when, for example, we can smell, taste and feel everything, when there is 'atmosphere' and when plots are so contrived that they lead to psychological analysis of character. Our concept of realism must be wide and political, sovereign over all conventions. 'Realistic' means: discovering the causal complexes of society / unmasking the prevailing view of things as the view of those who are in power / writing from the standpoint of the class which offers the broadest solutions for the pressing difficulties in which human society is caught up / making possible the concrete, and making possible abstraction from it.

--Bertolt Brecht, 'Against Georg Lukács', Aesthetics & Politics (Verso, 1980), p. 82.

Our people are never characters: if a character is boring, it is because they want to be. Doing nothing is important, it's a discipline: hang out, get to know your characters, their lives. I already have Hollywood. I don't have the money, but I have everything else.

--notebook fragments from a talk by Pedro Costa at Ciné lumière, London, April 2008.

For Colossal Youth, I was accompanied [to Cannes] by my Cape Verdean actors, laughing about dining with the rich folks. It was funny because I'd follow them, and they spent the days talking to the hotel cleaning ladies who were from Cape Verde. All cousins of Ventura, et al. The second he set foot in Cannes, someone called out: "Ventura! What are you doing here?" It was a cousin of his, who was sweeping the streets of Nice. There are loads of Cape Verdeans in Nice. Ventura said, "I'm in a film," and his cousin just replied, "oh right..." He wasn't bothered.

When Ventura goes to the museum and we show paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt and Van Dyck, he's at home there, and he should be. He built the museum; it's his floor, it's his ground, his walls, his stones. He's just lucky they hung a Rubens there. Those are the kinds of meetings between famous men that I like. Like that beautiful book by Walker Evans and James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I mean Ventura, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vanda... It's a beautiful thing with film, if you can abolish class and status, it's very utopian. You can still accomplish some revolutions in film, but not in life I'm afraid.

--Pedro Costa, interviewed in Art in America, 25/03/2010.

Juventude em Marcha - Pedro Costa, 2006, digital video

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