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Hermínio Amaro

How did you end up in the movie?
I went with my dog to pay the license and I saw the poster, an A4 sheet, asking people of such and such age, for a movie so and so. And I made the call. João Gusmão and Joana Bravo arranged a meeting. First, in a café near my place. We were together 2 or 3 minutes and next I had a meeting with Pedro (Pinho), Tiago (Hespanha) and Luísa (Homem). And there, they filmed me and asked some questions.

What kind of questions? Why was I interested in doing the film.  And the answer I gave was "I already planted trees, I did not have children, I did not want to, I do not think I have a way to write (I might be wrong), why not make a film?".

For the experience?
I had left the factory where I worked – I had challenged the administrator, who was cutting more and more rights and told him "If you go on like this, maybe it's better to go back to my village and raise rabbits".  The administrator did not forget me or what told him and after a year, he invited me to leave. I knew the rights I had, I declined the offers. When I read the poster I was on a layoff basis.

There was a coincidence between your life and the film.
Exactly. I was fired on 31st October and started working on the film on the 1st November. A door shuts and a window opens. Sometimes. When you are lucky... I was feeling on my skin what that was. The place where I worked was 50 meters ahead from where we were filming. I always went there with a heavy burden and commotion. It still moves me.

Did you enjoy the experience?
I did not like it. I loved it. Even now, I love it. At the time, it was heavy. I felt amputated...

Of what?
I worked there twenty-one years. To be without what has always been known, without which has always been done, a person gets lost. And besides that, you have to earn a living. We have bills to pay. At the time it was heavy. There were two colleagues who committed suicide, two who died of a heart attack. It was very hard. And there were a lot of people who struggled.

In the end, what did this experience give you? Friends. I made many friends. I saw that not all people are bad and that more people think like me. In human beings there is still some kindness. There is a line that separates us and unites us. And it's a thin line. Let me tell you something: My favourite image from the film is the ostriches. In this scene, Vargas symbolizes the nonconformity, the revolt, the irreverence, the one that didn’t allow them to do what they wanted. And the ostriches are the ones that stick their heads in the sand and don’t want to know. This is my reading...