The Blood

Costa's debut feature is a cineaste's delight, a mood-drenched black-and-white mélange of classic Hollywood, youthful energy, and timeless Portuguese romanticism. After their father disappears, two young brothers flee through some forgotten, eternally nocturnal corner of Portugal, on the run from older men with sinister motivations and accompanied by a beautiful young teacher. Filmed in a milky deep focus that recalls Murnau, Cocteau, and American noir, specifically Ray's They Live by Night and Laughton's Night of the Hunter (Costa hoped to shoot with that film's cinematographer, Stanley Cortez), The Blood is a combination of fairy tale, film noir, family drama, and doomed odyssey. While its imagery is a definite homage to an earlier period of filmmaking, its willful disregard for narrative cohesion is utterly modern, as is its characters' alienation from society, which recalls the 1970s New German Cinema (the film was finally shot, in fact, by Martin Schäfer, co-cameraman of Wim Wenders's Kings of the Road).

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