Poetic Response: “Ossos” (1997) 94 Min. – Pedro Costa – Portugal

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Ossos (1997) Portuguese director Pedro Costa combines documentary and narrative styles to innovate what has come to be called “the cinema of stillness.” This film studies the Fontainhas district of Lisbon, where immigrants from Africa struggle to stay alive.

 

I see your lips darkening the wall
In city streets in the rain

All the clichés of agitprop
And sometimes your lips move

Reciting their fascist slogans
Staining the wall with blood

So many crossing the border
Horizons share their own flat line

Homeless in condo corridors
With somebody’s baby for sale

Your lips purse from the gas
Seeping from the stove inside

Rooms stripped bare or bruised
Purple from too many beatings

Where her johns come and go
The baby abandoned on a green couch

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