(aka 'Blood')

Directed by Pedro Costa
Portugal 1989


Perhaps the most overtly Bressonian of Pedro Costa's body of work (albeit suffused with the brooding shadows of a Jacques Tourneur film), Costa's first feature, O Sangue, nevertheless bears the characteristic imprint of what would prove to be his familiar preoccupations: absent parents, surrogate families, unreconciled ghosts, the trauma and violence of displacement, the ache (and isolation) of longing. The thematic convergence is insightfully revealed in an episode that occurs near the end of the film, when the older brother Vicente (Pedro Hestnes), having been held captive by his father's nefarious associates on New Year's Eve in a half-baked attempt to collect his father's unpaid debt from him, awakens in the darkness of an unfamiliar apartment to the sight of a restless silhouette on the balcony - the shadow cast by his father's mistress (Isabel de Castro) that has been made spectral and incandescent by the transient glow of exploding fireworks and the sweep of wind against translucent curtains (a sense of otherworldliness that also reinforces a captor's earlier idea of conducting a séance in order to contact Vincente's missing father).

Excerpt from aquarello at Strictly Film School located HERE


Theatrical Release: September 13th, 1990 Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 2, 4 - PAL

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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 2, 4 - PAL
Runtime  1:34:42
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.98 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles  English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• João Pedro Bénard da Costa (16:18)
• Photo Gallery (2:06)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring two essays

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12



Wow. This may, very well, be one of my favorite releases from Second Run. Costa's debut feature is filled with gorgeous black and white cinematography. It is unique in tone from the other films of his that I have seen. Even after just watching for the first time I'm tempted to use the term 'masterpiece'. How this film has never been released before on DVD is... absurd.

The dual-layered, progressive transfer is as strong as Second Run's previous release; Diary For My Children. There is some niggling noise in monochromatic darkness, a few crushed blacks and, what I suspect is, some moiring but otherwise this SD transfer looks very good with some grain peeking through. The image quality is clean, consistent and contrast range is definitely a strong point. Detail has some exceptional moments as well as I'd say that, overall, this is a very impressive DVD transfer but I know I am swayed by the brilliant cinematography. The aspect ratio is in the original 1.33.   

Audio is acceptable in original Portuguese. There are optional English subtitles and the DVD is region 2 and 4 in the PAL standard.

Supplements consist of a 16-minute filmed appreciation with João Pedro Bénard da Costa reading from some of the film notes interspersed with shots of the film. It has optional English subtitles. There is also a Photo Gallery and 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by Adrian Martin and another by Frédéric Bonnaud - plus some photos.

I, in no way, feel adequate to discuss this stylistic film but strongly sense it is teeming with greatness and I feel confident in endorsing it and the solid Second Run package. I wish I could have a new movie like this every night - I actually look forward to a second viewing. We give one of our strongest DVD recommendations of the year.

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 2 - PAL


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