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Horse Money- BFI London Film Festival

Saturday 22 November 2014, by Jack Wormell

Creased whispers that fold out of mouths shrouded in darkness. One of the most aurally tactile films I have seen in a long time; a lady, Vitalina, only speaks in whispers, of past tragedies and celebrations. Monolithic black consumes an entire two thirds of the frame, as Ventura, a man imprisoned or hospitalised or sectioned, wanders empty.
The Cape Verdian immigrants in this film-poem almost disappear in the blackness and the silence. They are ghosts remembering times fuller. Everything now is derelict and empty. No one responds to Ventura as he speaks down the phone; he picks up his payslip from a silhouette.

Pedro Costa frames his collaborators as concrete, despondent but nonetheless carving flesh out of shadow. There. They look with an obscure sadness. Vitalina talks and we look at her face over time, again she is talking of the past, it seems that is what all dialogue, when dialogue is spoken in this film, is talking of. Her eye seems to swell, then glisten, eventually a tear slides down her cheek as she continues to whisper; her eye is shining.
A monologue in a lift, the old songs; a socially motivated film splintered and refracted into abstract montage. The last shot is strangely shocking – Ventura is released and his shadow falls over some knives.

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