It's the Earth Not the Moon

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É na terra não é na lua

“An absorbingly inventive three-hour ramble that is both an elegiac act of remembrance and a bulletin of the way things are now.” — R. Emmet Sweeney, Moving Image Source

Year: 2011
Country: Portugal
Running time: 180 mins

Producer/Photography: Gonçalo Tocha
Editors: Rui Ribeiro, Gonçalo Tocha, Catherine Villeret
Music: Didio Pestana
Narrators: Gonçalo Tocha, Didio Pestana
In Portuguese and French, with English subtitles
DigiBeta

With: Ines Inez

Festivals: Locarno, Vancouver 2011; San Francisco 2012

Best Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival 2012

The volcanic Portuguese island of Corvo, a mere four kilometres long, is the smallest island in the Azores. Though its social history remains largely unrecorded, its people, until the early 20th century, were a self-sustaining, agricultural community. Gonçalo Tocha (Balaou, NZIFF08) approaches Corvo with a mock scientific agenda – to know every plant, every inhabitant, every minute detail of the place. But when he and his sound man get there, they wander the steep, winding roads and ease us not at all rigorously into the tiny community. We encounter the island's homely crafts, religious rituals, troubled politics and pumping lo-fi disco through its people. Attending with particular respect to the older inhabitants, Tocha emerges with an artefact of something like communal memory, a picture of tough reticent island people living in perpetual contest with the elements. Rendered increasingly untenable by globalism, the centuries-old patterns of life on Corvo have found their social historian just in time, in a tender, inquisitive, itinerant cine-laureate. — BG

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Robyn Harper

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