August is the time of holidays and village festivals in the Portuguese countryside. Emigrants and city-dwellers return to their native village. We follow fifteen-year-old Tânia, a fire warden and singer in Domingos',her father's band, and the amorous complications with her cousin Hélder. Her mother, Helder's aunt disappeared some time ago and she resembles her very much. It is a secret between father and daughter. Against the background of Portuguese rural life with his Portuguese sorrows, the relationship between Tânia and her father turns out to be not so pure.Written by
This brilliant film is genially directed by Miguel Gomes (one of the brightest and youngest Portuguese filmmakers) and approaches a large number of issues, inside the Portuguese culture as well as in cinema representation of reality.
The frontier between documentary and fiction is explicitly broken, since the reality which is represented on screen is many times the reality that is found everyday, but being represented on screen, becomes a different reality, obviously. It may seem a bit confusing, but the film-making makes it perfectly clear presenting the characters (and film crew) in their own environment, creating genius dialog lines, guarantying the continuity in narrative with delicious details, crossing the characters' path everything fits completely.
With the best Portuguese humor, there are some questions which are pointed during this master-piece, as the religious belief, the secret dark customs of the relation between members of the same family (between brothers, father-daughter, cousins, etc.), the lack of strictness of the Portuguese people (as far as serious work is concerned), infidelity, the negative idea that the Portuguese people have of themselves or the isolation of the small villages in terms of absorbing new ways of thinking.
This is a film with a large number of dimensions or layers, like an onion. It is the reality of the deep Portugal in 147 minutes, guided by Portuguese popular music, which is the best sound track – through its lyrics and melodies – of what is presented to the viewer.
It is, after that, a great example of a film within a film in a extraordinary exercise of pointing out the problems of cinema in Portugal, invoking the particular characteristics of cinema in comparison with other art forms.
Portugal needed this film to think about itself.
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