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Screening at Row House Online

Acclaimed Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa returns with another moody, masterful portrait of Lisbon’s Fontainhas neighborhood. Taking its title from the name of its lead — a Cape Verdean woman who plays a fictionalized version of herself — VITALINA VARELA follows its stoic heroine as she arrives in Lisbon to reunite with 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 traces her husband left behind and encounters the other souls that haunt the crumbling tenements and alleys, VITALINA VARELA plays out as a series of burnished, painterly still lifes, rendering the nightmarish reality of the African diaspora and a harrowing legacy of violence as a dreamlike portrait of the living dead. “Demanding, rewarding, and ineffably stirring” (WSJ), Vitalina’s story is one of deeply concentrated beauty.

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