International Film Festival Rotterdam

Ico Costa – Alva #IFFR2019

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9 min. and 28 sec.

A walk through the hills with a criminal.

Play Podcast
9 min. and 28 sec.

PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Ico Costa, director of the film Alva.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

An interview with Ico Costa, director of Alva, which had its world premiere in the Bright Future strand of the 2019 International Film Festival Rotterdam. The protagonist of the film is a man who lives in the Portuguese countryside, commits a crime and goes back to the hills. Little is known about the whys and the hows, but as Costa tells us here, he wanted to get inside the man’s head. The film in fact focuses on him, and in this interview we also talk about his choice of filming in 16mm, using nonprofessional actors and what type of an experience he would like or expect his audience to have when watching Alva.

Alva: Henrique is a terse Portuguese smallholder who lives out in the hills, far from civilisation. We realise something is wrong in his life when occasional passers-by ask if there is any news about his daughters. The next day, he drives to a nearby village, follows someone and does something terrible. He then flees back to the hills. The almost entirely dialogue-free second half of the film focuses on Henrique as he hides out. We occasionally hear voices, or a helicopter swoops overhead. In the end, he returns to the village. Ico Costa explicitly uses an elliptic narrative structure, to allow viewers to form a man from the clay he puts in front of them. Who is Henrique? Can his deed be understood? Is he telling the truth when he says he didn’t want to hurt anyone? In the meantime, almost incidentally, the stunning beauty of the landscape passes by. Henrique washes himself in the waters of a river – a river called Alva.

  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Ico Costa
  • Interviewee role
    Director
  • Film title
    Alva
  • Festival section
    Bright Future
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