As Filhas Do Fogo (The Daughters of Fire), Pedro Costa’s new oddity

LES FILLES DU FEU © Clarão Companhia

In Les Filles du feu, a short film presented in a Special Screening which tells the story of three sisters separated by a volcanic eruption, the Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa continues his radical work, shaped by his friendships with people on the margins of society.

Throughout his career behind the camera, the films of Pedro Costa have been strongly rooted in the truth on the ground, based on the friendships he forms with women and men on the margins – from the residents of Lisbon housing estates to the Cape Verdean diaspora – and have used low budgets and unusual production methods. In his last film, Vitalina Varela (2019), the filmmaker reaffirmed his commitment to that method by filming Vitalina, a peasant farmer from the mountains of the Island of Santiago in Cape-Verde, who is devastated by the death of her husband.

This time, in As Filhas Do Fogo (The Daughters of Fire) the Portuguese director focuses on three young sisters separated by the eruption of the great Fogo, the highest peak in Cape Verde. They are played by the singers Elizabeth Pinard, Alice Costa and Karyna Gomes. The film is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between Pedro Costa and Os Músicos do Tejo, a Portuguese early music group founded in 2005.

The Portuguese filmmaker built up this short film – the ninth of his career – from images of looks to camera by the daughters of fire from the Island of Fogo, taken in Cape Verde in 1984 during the filming of Casa da Lava, which was shown at Cannes that year, at Un Certain Regard.