WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? + SICILIA! with Pedro Costa in person: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Grainy digital image of two people in an editing suite
6 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Fri April 26, 2024
6 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Radiant Shadows: The Films of Pedro Costa 

WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? (Pedro Costa, 2001, 104 min, Digital, France)

SICILIA! (Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, 1999, 66 min, 35mm, Italy/France)

With filmmaker in person!




"The best film ever made about editing and cinema." – Jean-Luc Godard

“A revelatory study of the moviemaking process, an artistic manifesto on the wing, and a touching glimpse of an exceptional love story.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

A candid portrait of the working relationship between German filmmaking duo Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? is both a revelatory film about the process of film editing and an unexpected romantic comedy anchored on arguments about the ethical and aesthetic implications of a cut in filmmaking. A deep influence of Pedro Costa, his still digital camera set up silently observes and pays tribute to Straub and Huillet as they re-edit their 1999 film SICILIA! at the French art school Le Fresnoy. An observational and tender portrait of the division of labor in the editing room, WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? captures long-winded, impassioned, and ruminating philosophical soliloquies about the filmmaking process by Straub and a patient and practical, frame-by-frame working hand on the editing table by Huillet.

Costa’s reverential documentary will be paired with a special 35mm presentation of Straub and Huillet’s SICILIA!, per the filmmaker’s request. An hour-long adaptation of Ellio Vittorini’s anti-fascist novel “Conversations in Sicily,” the film follows the homecoming of a Sicilian man returning from life in New York City. Straub and Huillet’s interwoven portrait of unforgettable characters and stunning black & white vignettes include an orange peddler curious about life in America, a mother announcing her separation from a philandering husband while cooking traditional dishes and reflecting on socialism and labor, and a traveling knife-sharpener rattling off the joys and insults of life. “Something as simple as a herring roasting on a hearth, or a meal of bread, wine and winter melon, takes on the humble aura of a Caravaggio painting” in Straub Huillet’s operatic assertion of Sicilian life.

SICILIA! 35mm print courtesy of Miguel Abreu Gallery and BELVA.

Following the screening, Pedro Costa will appear in person for a conversation with the audience.

The Block Museum is proud to partner with the MFA in Documentary Media, the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, and the School of Communications at Northwestern to welcome Pedro Costa as a 2024 Hoffman Visiting Artist for Documentary Media.

Funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman, this short-term filmmaker residency at Northwestern’s School of Communications will engage Costa in screenings, discussions, and student workshops, including presentations of his landmark documentary IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000) on April 24 and lesser seen gem WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? (2001), meta-cinematically paired with SICILIA! (Straub-Huillet, 1999, 35mm) on April 26.




About the artist:

Born in Lisbon, Pedro Costa left his course of studies in History to attend classes taught by the poet and filmmaker António Reis at the Lisbon Film School. His first film O Sangue / Blood had its world premiere at the Mostra Cinematografica di Venezia, in 1989. Casa de Lava, his second feature, shot in Cabo Verde, screened in Cannes, 'Un Certain Regard', in 1994. His other feature films include In Vanda's Room and Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? on the work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub and Ne change rien, with Jeanne Balibar. Cavalo Dinheiro / Horse Money was awarded the Leopard for Best Direction at the Locarno Film Festival, in 2014, and Vitalina Varela received the Gold Leopard for Best Film as well as the Leopard for Best Actress, at the Locarno Film Festival, in 2019. His work has been presented in cinematheques and museums around the world.


This event is free, but RSVP through the Block Museum Eventbrite listing is required. RSVPs are limited to 2 people per order. Registration does NOT guarantee if arriving late. Unclaimed seats will be opened to standby attendees 10 minutes before showtime. Please email block-museum@northwestern.edu with any questions.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu