Cinematic Walls: Pedro Costa’s Mural Imagination

Estela Vieira


This essay offers a reading of Pedro Costa’s first feature-length film, O sangue (1989). It explores the representation of different sorts of walls, their semantic inferences and functions, arguing that Costa's "mural imagination" speaks to the limits—or perceived limitlessness—of contemporary filmmaking. I show that in O sangue, walls emerge as tools for defining realism and its relation to cinema. Beyond this, they work as rhetorical strategies to interrogate the threshold between fact and fiction and between socio-political realities and artistic filmmaking. For Costa, walls emphasize the authenticity of fictional worlds and highlight the ways in which audiences relate to the realities and communities represented on screen.


O sangue; Denis Diderot; Georg Simmel; symbolism of walls; limits in cinema

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