EIFF: It’s the Earth Not the Moon

An alternative title for this film could have easily been ‘A Man Went to Corvo and Returned with a Nifty Hat’. This may contain spoilers to some people.

Before continuing with my experience, I must apologise to anyone in the cinema who heard my mobile phone go off. It is the first time it has happened and I do usually switch it off before a film begins though this was not the case. If it did interrupt your experience of watching the film, I am sorry.

For the second film on the second day of the festival was Goncalo Tocha’s documentary around the life on the island of Corvo. Taking the viewer through the life of the inhabitants of the island, he eventually makes the viewer an inhabitant of the island himself or herself for a brief moment.

Let me begin with the length of the film, it is over three hours long but it never felt like that time was passing as I found myself losing the concept of time while watching. (No, I did look for it under my seat!).

Tocha handles this by breaking the documentary into chapters which I found helpful as (picking up something I learned at the Intro to Film Studies: Art Cinema and Narrative) he written a visual book of the island. Even with camera shots of waves crashing against rock that would have been called ‘dead time’ (again, from the lecture earlier), it does not feel wasted but something relaxing and aids the passing of time.

Interesting enough, time itself is part of the documentary when speaking to the older inhabitants, many of them had to rely on old documents and records on what had happened in the past. There were many messages throughout with focus on the future and not the past.

The documentary covers many other areas including the simple life and the importance of politics in a place where one vote can truly make a difference so politicians must work hard for their votes.

Though there is something that does nag at me about this, Tocha and his crew were polite around the island inhabitants and were not intrusive to them there was one part where I felt he did become intrusive. There is a scene in where Tocha meditates around the forest area where it appears no person ever goes to, this to me felt like an area that should not have been shown and left alone.

Oh, I never did explain about that hat in my first sentence, guess you will have to see the documentary to get that one.


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