Horse Money ★★½

[45]

My first plunge into Costa’s work; perhaps not the best place to start, but [shrug]. Stunning to look at, obviously meticulous in the way each scene is staged and framed - though the blaring, bright white light seems like overkill in several scenes - and curious in its veiled fusion of reality and headspace, of dreamscape and nightmare, of corporeal and psychological, but ultimately too impervious for its own good. Piecemeal architecture reminded me of THE HEADLESS WOMAN, only more narratively obfuscated and systematically impenetrable, with even less clarification left on the table despite how many scenes boil down to pointed monologue: The army man in the elevator, holy shit I thought it was never going to end. It’s frustrating to see such short-winded bouts of bravura—e.g. the music-driven “Alto Cutelo” slideshow—amount to essentially nothing among the deeply shadowed facial closeups of excess sermonizing. I’d be interested to revisit this after having watched Costa’s previous films, to see if I can wrangle a better understanding on his overall disposition or worldview or intent or anything; this left me in a conflicted state of stargazing at things I had little to no interest in, given how distanced the material is.

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