IN VANDA'S ROOM (2000) with Pedro Costa in person: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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IN VANDA'S ROOM (2000) with Pedro Costa in person

Shadowy close up of a woman's face
5:30 PM-9:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed April 24, 2024
5:30 PM-9:30 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Radiant Shadows: The Films of Pedro Costa 

IN VANDA’S ROOM (Pedro Costa, 2000, 171 min, Digital, Portugal)

With filmmaker in person!




“The 21st century begins for cinema with Pedro Costa’s IN VANDA’S ROOM.” - Shigehiko Hasumi

In the early 2000s, when cinema contended with the radical technological shift to digital video, Pedro Costa turned from narrative filmmaking, traditional production methods, and costly 35mm to began working on a nonfiction project made with accessible digital video equipment and a significantly pared down crew of two: the result was IN VANDA’S ROOM.

The second installment in the Fontainhas trilogy, a series of films documenting the lives of a marginalized community in the eponymous district on the outskirts of Lisbon, IN VANDA’S ROOM is an astounding meditation on memory, loss, and the real-time razing of a neighborhood subjected to urban renewal. Following the daily routines of its central protagonist and the film’s namesake, Vanda Duarte and her sister Zita, both living with heroin addiction, the film finds intimacy through observational long takes and the disarming proximity of shared spaces of confinement with its subjects. The digital image is transmuted through an incredible interplay of light and shadow in front of Costa’s camera, where residents come and go, laughing, coughing, smoking, exchanging goods, rearranging spaces, in strikingly composed shots and mesmerizing, languid duration. A testament to the aesthetic possibilities of digital video and a profound look at humanity in the shadows, IN VANDA’S ROOM is widely considered a landmark of contemporary cinema that remains powerfully evocative nearly a quarter century from its release.

Following the screening, Pedro Costa will appear in person for a conversation with the audience.

The Block Museum is proud to partner with the MFA in Documentary Media, the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, and the School of Communications at Northwestern to welcome Pedro Costa as a 2024 Hoffman Visiting Artist for Documentary Media.

Funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman, this short-term filmmaker residency at Northwestern’s School of Communications will engage Costa in screenings, discussions, and student workshops, including presentations of his landmark documentary IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000) on April 24 and lesser seen gem WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? (2001), meta-cinematically paired with SICILIA! (Straub-Huillet, 1999, 35mm) on April 26.

About the artist:

Born in Lisbon, Pedro Costa left his course of studies in History to attend classes taught by the poet and filmmaker António Reis at the Lisbon Film School. His first film O Sangue / Blood had its world premiere at the Mostra Cinematografica di Venezia, in 1989. Casa de Lava, his second feature, shot in Cabo Verde, screened in Cannes, 'Un Certain Regard', in 1994. His other feature films include In Vanda's Room and Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? on the work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub and Ne change rien, with Jeanne Balibar. Cavalo Dinheiro / Horse Money was awarded the Leopard for Best Direction at the Locarno Film Festival, in 2014, and Vitalina Varela received the Gold Leopard for Best Film as well as the Leopard for Best Actress, at the Locarno Film Festival, in 2019. His work has been presented in cinematheques and museums around the world.


This event is free, but RSVP through the Block Museum Eventbrite listing is required. RSVPs are limited to 2 people per order. Registration does NOT guarantee if arriving late. Unclaimed seats will be opened to standby attendees at 5:20 PM. Please email with any questions.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at