Thomas Harlan
Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, 84 min

In 1975, following the fall of the dictatorship in Portugal, the workers on a large agricultural holding, Torre Bela, vote to take over the land and set up a cooperative. The movement enjoys the support of an army regiment, committed to combating capitalist exploitation alongside the toiling peasants… Their utopia lasts a hundred days . A staggering film, illustrating the transition from revolutionary talk to revolutionary deeds.

En 1975, following the fall of the dictatorship in Portugal, the workers on a large agricultural holding, Torre Bela, vote to take over the land and set up a cooperative. The aim is to switch over to growing food crops, neglected by the landowner, the Duke of Lafoes, who had concentrated on more profitable forestry. A step ahead of the government’s agricultural policy directives, the movement enjoys the support of an army regiment, committed to combating capitalist exploitation… The hundred days of this utopian situation are encapsulated by the editing,  with two sequences buttressing the centripetal spiral of the film: an interminable travelling shot taken from a helicopter, moving from the estate entrance to the centre of the web, the owner’s residence; and the final shot, in which the workers are shown deciding on the cooperative’s working hours, through two of the windows of the big house, at night. Between these two poles of the revolutionary electrode crackles the dazzling arc of a staggering film, moving from revolutionary talk to revolutionary deeds.

Laurent Roth

Translation BMP Translations

Duration
84 min
Year
1978
Country
Portugal, Switzerland, Italy
Section
Port Franc
Languages
French, Portuguese
Production
Era NovaLichtbildSocietà Cinematografica Italiana di Torre Bela