Director's Statement

The burden of heritage

What makes us who we are?

The choices and options we take throughout life define us, but we carry on with us matters we don’t understand neither control. Something that makes us be and act, something that was born with us, and that was passed on to us, something we inherited. This film is about those invisible ties that define us and limit our behaviour.

The scenery of the film works almost as a metaphor for everything that happens to the protagonist, a charismatic man, one of those who are bigger than life. Both man and land are grand and imperial at the beginning, but as the events take place, they start to reveal their imperfections, their grey zones, and both start to collapse.

The Domain is kind of a huge isle inside a country dominated by a fascist dictatorship. It’s like a kingdom dominated by a progressive and a charismatic anarchist prince. But he will inevitably collide with the people’s will to change. A collision with the changes of history, with the passage of time. I actually do want to film these human and territorial transformations. Its consequences.

The landscape of The Domain will be the discovery of the immense marshlands and latifundia of Tagus’ south bank. A singular view: the earthy hill, the barns, the cornfields, the horses, the lakes in the sun will be the historical, political, financial stage of Portugal in the last 60 years, going through the Carnation Revolution (25th April 1974). They will also be the space of the obscure actions of the film characters consumed by their torments, social biases, greed, love and mismatches.

The universe of The Domain sends us back to several films I deeply love. Films of open spaces, westerns lost in the middle of nowhere with enigmatic characters who carry secrets, as in Leone’s and Anthony Mann’s films. At the same time, human relationships are explored in a way that is similar to the melodramas of Minelli and Kazan’s classic films.

A film of strong characters, great actors, strong interpretations, and the greatness of the landscapes that envelop them, and the consequences of the secrets they carry. The heritage left to us and the heritage we leave to others.

Tiago Guedes