Moody and enigmatic Portuguese drama about the relationship between two young brothers. Living in a squat on the outskirts of Lisbon, 17-year-old Vincente (Pedro Hestnes) and his ten-year-old brother Nino (Nuno Ferreira) have had a tough life. With no mother, and a father who's seldom there, they've had to learn to look after themselves. So when their father disappears for good, they take it in their stride, determined to keep it their secret. The precariousness of the boys' situation is soon brought to the fore, however, when some of their father's former gambling partners arrive on their doorstep seeking information, whatever it takes to get it.
Costa's debut has the capacity to hypnotise and inspire wonder like a slow flowing river or the movement of starlings. The film is shot in black and white and that is what it is, an examination of the encounter between these two, it is not monochrome. Black and white are not opposites but are married by distinction, it is a relationship of difference not opposition and this encounter is given figurative power by the encounters of characters and of spaces. The film is a journey, not guided by telos but by the endless movement of emotions, the chances of life and the experiments of youth. The two young lovers dance thier way towards a relationship, an awkward dance, they stumble over eachothers expectations as they move toward some semblence of what the world might expect like the surrogate family of 'Rebel Without a Cause'. It is though, in another film by Nick Ray that we might begin to discern the intertextual nuances of adolescents dreaming of adulthood, 'They Live By Night'. Both films deliver a bruised vision of dreamed families stumbling towards dissolution. This is the first film I have seen by Costa, just watched it 10 minutes ago. It is the kind of film that you experience as a form of osmosis, it rises inside you, an oneiric study in mood and emotional infusion, narcotic cinema, beautiful.