Casa de Lava

Casa de Lava

Pedro Costa / 1994 / 105 minutes / Spine #08

In only his second feature, Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa (Horse Money, In Vanda’s Room) brilliantly reworked Jacques Tourneur’s classic I Walked with a Zombie into a reflection on his country’s colonial legacy. A nurse, Mariana (Inês de Medeiros), accompanies Leão (Isaach de Bankolé) to his home on the volcanic islands of Cape Verde after an accident leaves him in a coma — but he goes unrecognized by fellow denizens, leaving Mariana trapped with and eventually entranced by a mysterious community. Never before released in the U.S. and now beautifully restored, Casa de Lava foreshadows the masterful films that would follow, yet is an extraordinary, ravishing work in its own right.



Casa de Lava scrapbook (2012, 24 minutes), pages from Pedro Costa’s notebook, featuring images and texts gathered during production, and set to original music

• Interview with cinematographer Emmanuel Machuel

• Theatrical Trailer

Booklet featuring essays by film scholars Darlene J. Sadlier and Jonathan Rosenbaum



→ Read Pedro Costa’s 10/10 list

Jonathan Rosenbaum’s essay on Casa de Lava


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  • "New enigmas reveal themselves with each new viewing."

    — Jacques Rivette
  • "A beautiful restoration."

    Film Comment
  • “An elliptical, deeply mysterious ghost story.”

    The Nation
  • “Costa creates moody, luminous tableaux to conjure an incantatory, Faulknerian earthiness."

    The New Yorker
Trailer / Clips