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José Smith Vargas



My first experience in cinema was in 2013, when I participated in a short film by André Godinho (Ponto Morto) also produced by Terratreme and where Pedro Pinho worked as director of photography. By that time I had heard him drop the zum-zum that Terratreme would be preparing a neo-realist musical. I remember being impressed with the idea and thinking that it would be the ideal gang to risk work with a genre as folkloric (in its own way) as "intervention cinema" and "engagé" art in general. On one side, it was a company with a catalog more linked to the documentary and experimental cinema, and on the other, for having an attitude that stands out of a certain cannibal habit common in the cinema world.

A year passed by and in the summer of 2014, Pedro and the rest proposed a casting for this project. It would be done with non-actors. They needed a rock workman-singer who worked in a bankrupt factory that would go into self-management by the hand of the workers. And to compose the bouquet, in parallel, there would be a window into the intimate and familiar life of this character. We made some experiences and I entered the trip with the same spirit with which we accept the most unlikely chore.

I had never been involved in a project where I saw so many resources and so many heads at the service of such an enthusiastic idea. Texts, various participations, intensive fieldwork, borrowed reflections, personal contributions from the actors... The film is thought with the help of dozens of people... And let's not mention its material execution.

The workers' group became a "gang" very quickly. As we are a team of non-actors, I think we all got on the same foot,  nervous and insecure, typical of the arrival at a new job or a new group of any activity. With relatively short periods of adaptation and in which we had to quickly invent our own autonomy. With just a few guidelines, the whole group had to catch up and take a stand on the events, while Pedro made his fiction with a documentary feel.

In the end, I think the great mark of this film is an insistent compulsion to risk everything. Mixture of genres, moods, layers of reality. Extension of breathing time without compromise. Not afraid to stop to question or discuss, and then comeback and take the intensity wherever you want.