Colo purports to be a kitchen sink-style drama, which is apt: watching it is about as enthralling as washing the dishes.

Teresa Villaverde concerns her art with the economic crisis and how such events can gobble up families, their homes, and ultimately their entire lives. But the result is far too distracted, too unfocused to make any valid points – let alone sustain social commentary. This is a battlefield cacophonous with narrative, but Colo swings lackadaisically from vine to vine, perspective to perspective, before strands entangle and nothing can be grasped but empty air.

Everything connects back to Alice Albergaria Borges’ Marta, a moody Portuguese 17 year-old, whose obligatory angst contaminates everyone and everything around her: her prescriptively alternative best friend is pregnant, her mother has aged and is only just realising half her time is up, and her father’s mid-life implosion is right on schedule. It’s right we see this world through Marta’s eyes; Villaverde’s screenplay is remarkably adolescent, pockmarked with platitudes and juvenile observations. Colo’s arthouse ambition is the visual diary of a willowy teenager.

There is minor relief to be found in Acácio de Almeida’s cinematography. He chooses to frame every other shot widely, creating a vivid flick-book of urban postcards. Riverbanks, beaches, even bedrooms are transformed from everyday locations to portals of modern lore, teeming with story. Except, even in these nooks and crannies, there are no stories to tell.

Films do not need to give us everything, just something. We can be thrown in and scooped out of universes at will, but surely have to leave with more than we entered with. Colo offers nothing new – it is relentless in its attempts to capture real life, but is sadly only half successful. There is no magic here; just a handful of crumpled stories forming an anthology of tedium.



CAST: Alice Albergaria Borges, João Pedro Vaz, Beatriz Batarda

DIRECTOR: Teresa Villaverde

WRITER: Teresa Villaverde

SYNOPSIS: In Portugal, a father, a mother and a daughter’s daily lives are being subsumed by the effects of the economic crisis.