20 Years of Doc’s Kingdom

In Vanda’s Room

14 October 2020
The discussions
Pedro Costa: Obviously every film follows its specific order, and this one has its own, which was found after many months in the editing process. But, at the same time, I think this film shows there is no secret in filmmaking, no mystery. Bresson used to say there is another order of things, “a supernatural order”. But that’s just to do with work in the editing room, as we did. It was really hard to edit the film, we had some very tough days. Not days, months, because this is not something you figure out all at once, you have to go through a very precise process, especially in this case where there was no script, no “scene 1, scene 2, scene 3”...
7 September 2020
Colored Plates
Chris Fujiwara
If we consider the shots of In Vanda’s Room to be similar to such plates, we are bound to ask: “Who is looking?” This question becomes complex in view of the conception and history of the film and the manner of its production, all of which problematize the traditional position of the author as someone who stands apart from the scenes and the people of a film in order to view and contemplate them. It is not difficult to reach the different conclusion that Vanda herself is the one who is “seeing” In Vanda’s Room, since it is she who constantly directs the attention of the viewer to the objects she concerns herself with, and it is she who controls the mood of scenes by imposing her own mood of restless tolerance, or through the ritual aggressiveness she adopts in her dialogues with Zita.
7 September, 6pm
Cinemateca Portuguesa
Special Screening
In Vanda’s Room
Pedro Costa, 2000, 171 min.

To mark a double 20th anniversary, Doc’s Kingdom celebrates “In Vanda’s Room”, screened for the first time in Portugal at the first international seminar on documentary film, in Serpa, in October 2000.

If twenty years later we can recognize the paths opened by this pioneering film that carries so many past and future films with it, the feeling shared by the group of participants at the first Doc’s Kingdom seminar was that of walking into uncharted territory.

“This is its first victory: it is an alien film”, critic Tierry Lounas declared, opening the post-screening discussion with the director in person, on a Saturday afternoon in Serpa’s cinema, two months after the world premiere of In Vanda’s Room at Locarno Film Festival.

Doc’s Kingdom takes this anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate a film that exalts cinema as a communal and transformative experience, at a moment when we cannot bring physically together the international community that now gathers once a year in Arcos de Valdevez to watch and discuss films collectively.

In Vanda’s Room is the point of departure for an itinerary taking us to the next Doc’s Kingdom seminar. Looking forward to meeting again in 2021, we are organizing the two-decades seminar’s archive that will be available online at the closing of 2020.