The aim of Ecorustics is revealing rural Portugal to the rest of the world. We believe that it is important that millennials and the future generations have a general understanding about the life style of our ancestors and how it changed to the nowadays’ standard. The best way to understand the rural past is to get immersed by it in the countryside. Not only in Portugal but all around the globe. We focus on Portugal because it is the context that we know the best.

Visiting some traditional villages in Portugal can give you an immense insight about the past. It’s like visiting a museum in open space. The villages are revealing the history of generations. However, you have to hurry up to visit them because most of the rural places are being abandoned due to the rural exodus and only traces of an active past are left behind.

A new life is about to start… and in a natural way!

Back in 2014, João Pedro Plácido made a documentary called Volta à terra  – (Be)longing. In his documentary, João captured the dying traditions of an isolated hamlet in the northern mountains of Portugal – Uz. Similarly to Ecorustics, this 78 minutes documentary opens a window to the rural world.

This image from the movie reveals the mountainous landscape in the Northern Portugal, most likely a shot during the winter time. The enclosure of the land by stone walls was a very hard manual task. The granite stones are used to keep the soil as flat as possible. This facilitates irrigation and helps in maintaining the nutrients in the soil.

Volta à Terra tells the story of three generation of subsistence farmers during four seasons. This family lives in a mountainous village (Uz) nearly deserted due to emigration. Here is the trailer:

Here is a free excerpt of the movie in Portuguese

If you want to know more about this movie or more Portuguese movies have a look here

My aim with this post is not to discuss or review the cinematography of the movie/documentary since it’s not my expertise. However, it’s my aim to point out that there is no scene in the movie that is not realistic. All the scenarios and dialogues could happen behind the camera in the exact same way. Finally, it is important to point out that this lifestyle is rapidly vanishing in Portugal. So hurry up to visit the remote villages in northern Portugal before the “museum” closes the doors.

You can rent or buy the movie here and visit Uz to find out more!

Let us know what you think on the comments and don’t forget to share to support us!

Expand to see the review of Volta à terra by Ricardo Vieira Lisboa

    Volta à Terra (2014), the debut of Portuguese cinematographer João Pedro Plácido, tends in fact towards beauty. The intimate relationship between the camera and the people of Uz, the portrait of a country and its interior, the way caring for the fields turns into a prison, a torn love story between staying and going abroad. Seemingly, this description could refer to the Portuguese reality of the 1960’s, when there was an exodus to foreign lands due to the very difficult conditions of life during the Estado Novo dictatorship (especially in the interior regions). Today, however, the picturesque image of the interior makes us believe that there are no such difficulties and beauty goes hand in hand with happiness, when in fact everything has been converted into merchandise.

    Therefore, in this eye that observes the world as a beautiful bucolic landscape, there is an ideological programme. A programme that seems to want to infect that same beauty with everything it tends to hide. The beautiful image is usually the consequence of an automatism, a look that lets things unnoticed. But Plácido, in his walk through rurality (given the fact that it is a documental gaze), achieves the prowess of finding the human despite the beautiful and also far from the typical alternative, the ethnographic approach. In Volta à Terra he films people above all else (in a country, Portugal) and it is them who give the best the film has to offer. For this reason, one cannot forget a phone conversation at the top of the mountain between stones and sheep, where a boy hears the breaking of his own heart. It is beautiful for sure, but it is also intimate, true, and in some ways deeply sober because it would be impossible to show a heartbreak through the sterility of an idealized image. It is only possible to pierce the membrane of bucolic harmony when one reaches out and hears the others: it is through this rip that one discovers the essence of beauty.