Portuguese director Pedro Costa directs "Down to Earth" (aka "House of Larva"). Like many of his other features - "Bones", "Vanda's Room", "Colossal Youth" - the film blends minimalism with surrealism, utilizes a non professional cast and is set in contemporary Cape Verde, an island off the North Western coast of Africa.
The film revolves around two characters, Mariana, a Portuguese nurse assigned to Cape Verde from Lisbon, and Leao, a black patient who awakes from a coma following a construction accident. Strangely, Leao resents being alive. He resents being back in Cape Verde, an enmity which Mariana senses and gradually begins to understand as the continuing legacy of both colonialism and the European slave trade begin to become apparent to her. It's a legacy that has scarred Cape Verde, and induced in Mariana a kind of coma or sickness akin to Leao's.
Throughout the film Costa repeatedly cuts to shots of festering volcanoes, their bubbling cisterns threatening to violently explode. Such shots are suggestive of the plight of Cape Verde's population (and migrant workers), all of whom are on the verge of economic extinction. The volcano's's bubbling larva also alludes to the populace's growing, mounting disdain, its pyroclasic flow pointing to some future, potential uprising. See Gillo Pontecorvo's "Burn!".
8/10 Worth one viewing.
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