REVIEW – Colossal Youth (2006)

Videovista have my review of Pedro Costa’s Juventude em Marcha, which has been released by the always excellent boutique DVD and Blu-ray label Masters of Cinema.

While Colossal Youth is not the first Pedro Costa I have seen, my familiarity with the filmmaker’s work in no way made it either an easier or a more appealing watch.  The film is beautiful, intelligent and is inspired by the same singular vision that pervades all of Costa’s work but it is also cataclysmically boring and inaccessible. This is art house film making without compromise or concession, either you accept the film on its own terms or you don’t bother:

While Costa’s films are almost completely unwatchable, there is clearly a coherent vision behind the impenetrable boredom that dominates his films. Because this coherent vision exists, Costa has found an audience for his decidedly singular and experimental approach to filmmaking. Indeed, while I suspect that Costa has few followers outside of academic film studies and film schools, the substance that exists in his work means that his films contribute to the evolution of the cinematic form. While the films that Costa makes may be boring and unwatchable, they will be influential and it would not surprise me if Costa’s devotees can find echoes of his work in that of the filmmakers who have come after him. As boring as his work may be to me, I cannot deny that Costa is an important figure and that his films constitute a boon to the on-going evolution of the cinematic form.

Going by the recent output of Colin Marshall’s excellent podcast Marketplace of Ideas, I get the impression that certain elements of the lit-blogosphere are attempting to re-claim boredom as a position of spiritual strength and a reaction against the media-saturation and sensationalism of much of Western culture. It seems to me that Costa’s work would probably make a good case-study for people sympathetic to that position.