In Vanda's Room

Samson, K. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution


A documentary about the marginalized, with radically new digital aesthetics.

The Portuguese director Pedro Costa had previously portrayed the inhabitants of the slum Fontainhas, but with ‘In Vanda’s Room’ he sought – and found – new approaches and aesthetics. Equipped with a minimal crew and small digital cameras, he moved in with the residents of the neighborhood and filmed their daily lives. Not an aesthetic of decay or of ruins; but of the lives, routines, weekdays of the residents, and how they adapt the environment to this. At the center stands heroin user Vanda Duarte and her titular room, one of the neighborhood gathering places. Neither plot, suspense or the warm aesthetics of celluloid belong to this world, and by recognizing this and creating a new image through use of recent technology more suited to the surroundings, Pedro Costa and his collaborators in the slum created one of the most important new filmworks of the young millenium.

Associate Professor in performance design and urban researcher at RUC Kristine Samson introduces the Costa film – its approach, space and aesthetic.
Period21 Mar 2015
Event titleCopenhagen Architecture and Film Festival
Event typeLecture
LocationCopenhagen, Denmark


  • Film
  • slum
  • urban environments
  • aesthetics of fragmentation
  • urban studies
  • film studies
  • documentation
  • Film aesthetics
  • digital aesthetics
  • every day life