Horse Money (12)

Second Run, £19.99

A companion piece of sorts to his 2006 film Colossal Youth, set among Cape Verdean immigrants in Lisbon's Fontainhas district, Pedro Costa's award-winning 2014 work is a hallucinatory trawl through one man's life and memories.

The man is played by regular Costa collaborator Ventura, the non-actor's only given name. Confusingly, that's also the name of his character. Likewise actress Vitalina Varela plays a woman called simply Vitalina. She appears regularly, holding cryptic, whispered conversations with Ventura, or sitting impassively in her black leather coat, or reading matter-of-factly from official documents concerning births, deaths and marriages. The film's settings are (variously) an abandoned hospital, a warren of underground passages and, in an extraordinary 20 minute sequence in which Ventura communicates with a statue of a soldier, a lift.

Narrative certainties are few. Ventura mentions the MFA, the revolutionary cadre which ended right wing rule in Portugal in 1974. We learn that he was injured in the attempted right-wing coup of March 1975 and delivered to hospital. We can see that he trembles constantly. He tells us he was married, though he also tells a doctor he's aged 19 years and three months, which he clearly isn't. So are these his memories or someone else's? Are they, in fact, a sort of collective memory?

The title is as ambiguous as everything else, especially as there's mention at one point of a horse called Money. It, we learn, was “torn apart by vultures” after Ventura left Cape Verde for Portugal.

Far easier to pin down are the set design and the camera work, which leave no room for doubt: both are astonishing. Cinematographer Leonardo Simoes uses the painterly technique of chiaroscuro to throw angled light into virtually every scene, sometimes enough to fully illuminate a face, sometimes so little that we only really sense the human presence. Either way it's extraordinarily powerful.

Costa has been called the Samuel Beckett of cinema, which pretty much nails the feel of this film. But if you can imagine Jane Brown's famous 1976 portrait of the Irish playwright, you get a sense, too, of how it looks.

Extras include Costa's 2010 short film O Nosso Homem, and alongside a rather ponderous essay in the booklet by former Edinburgh International Film Festival director Chris Fujiwara is an illuminating one from critic Jonathan Romney. I recommend reading it before you watch Horse Money. And don't worry: with a film like this, it would be hard to provide spoilers.

Sisters (15)

Universal Pictures UK, £9.99

With a collective CV that includes comedy hits 30 Rock and Parks And Recreation, as well as lengthy tenures on Saturday Night Live (eight years and seven years respectively), comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler should have made Sisters a Bridesmaids-style smash. They didn't. Sure, it's laugh out loud funny throughout, but its promising set up - two very different sisters return to an empty home to clear out their childhood bedroom when their parents sell the house - is squandered, and all we're left with is a series of bombastic set-pieces as the “girls” reminisce, squabble, read chunks from their teenage diaries then decide to invite all their old schoolmates to one last hell-raising party. Fellow SNL graduate (and Bridesmaids star) Maya Rudolph makes a welcome appearance as their gate-crashing high school nemesis, but there's a sense here of an opportunity lost. Still, don't bet against a sequel.

By the by, if you want a depiction of sisterly relationships which is just as funny but better observed and far more realistic, check out Caitlin and Caroline Moran's brilliant Channel 4 sitcom Raised By Wolves. Series two was released on DVD on Monday.

Swung (18)

Metrodome, £9.99

Adapted from Ewan Morrison's 2007 novel of the same name and shot in Glasgow by director Colin Kennedy for muscular local outfit Sigma Films, Swung is set against the background of the city's swinging scene and deals with the sort of issues you don't often hear broached in relationship dramas. Such as surgical cures for erectile dysfunction - close your eyes at that point, gentlemen - and the dos and don'ts of what orgy-goers call the Black Room.

Beyond that, however, it's a traditional love story about a pair of educated, middle class urbanites - designer David (Owen McDonnell) and Spanish journalist Alice (The Skin I Live In's Elena Anaya) - hitting career and relationship troubles in their early 30s.

I'm not familiar with the source material so it's hard to know how novel and film differ. But reports suggest Morrison provided an honest and truthful picture of the swinging scene and its adherents. If so, some of that has been lost in the novel's transference to the screen. Things pick up when Downton Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern arrives as a free-spirited Californian orgy organiser, but what could have been a dark, frank and explicit investigation into sex and relationships in the vein of Gaspar Noé's Love becomes, ultimately, something far less interesting and conservative.