Director Raul Domingues joins us on Close-Up Culture to discuss Striking Ground (Terra Que Marca).
It is told that in the past, two wrongdoers came to serve their sentence of taking care of an uninhabited and fallow land. Their sentence was passed from generation to generation and was inherited by the men who work it.
A barefoot woman is tilling the land and is surprised by a leaf.
What does it mean to you to have Striking Ground screen at Berlinale?
I’m very grateful that the film could finally see the light of day at such an important festival. I think it’s a great opportunity and sure that will give me more strength to keep going.
Can you tell us about your own experiences of farming and what led you to make Striking Ground?
I grew up in rural space where farming work was always present. Before I started filming I only helped my family with the hard work that was easier done by all of us. Then I realised that the knowledge that my family had, in particular my grandmother, would eventually disappear. My approach was to learn while filming. I always felt that my grandmother suffers with the land she has to care for with the constant feeling that all the work must be done. I think in some way I wanted to capture that feeling.
The film places equal focus on humans and other life. Can you tell us more about this outlook?
I think it’s just the way I see things. I always felt that all life matters and should be respected.
What was your approach to the cinematography Striking Ground? What atmosphere did you want to create?
My approach was to follow my intuition. When I was in the field I would bring my camera and film what would catch my attention. Always trying to not be noticed. In the editing I try to follow the ideas that the film was giving it to me. Like a living thing.
If I’m correct, you started making the film in 2015. What was the entire process and journey to make this film like for you?
Yes. I think the process of making this film is in the film itself. I started by just filming some things that were interesting to me. Then I would edit them and find some ideas that I would later pursue. I was not always working on it since I had to work on other people’s projects. So the filming and editing was done from time to time. This helped create some time and distance for the film to grow.
What are your hopes for the film at Berlinale and beyond?
I hope that the film can bring some different ideas that allow discussion and other ways of seeing the world.
Beyond this I hope to get more opportunities to go on with my work.