A Place in Time
Original Title (in latin alphabet): A Fajã onde O Tempo Não Mora English Title: A Place in Time Year: 2019 Country: Portugal Duration: 1h58 Original Format: HD Color or B&W: Color Language: Portuguese Subtitles: English Director: Sara Leal Script: Sara Leal Director of Photography: Borja Campillo Arribas Sound Recording: Paulo Sousa, Borja Arribas, Sara Leal Sound Editing/Post Production: Carlos Abreu, Miguel Gonçalves, Íngreme. Editing: Sara Leal Music: Noiserv; João Félix Production: Sara Leal ***Vimeo video password: workscreening18 (please do not copy/paste password, it has to be written to unlock the film)***.
A Place in Time
There is a secluded place in the northeast part of the island of Sao Jorge, in the Azores. Few people live there permanently, for its tough lifestyle renounces contemporary comforts we take for granted, as power lines and good communication services. There is no zip code, the mail is not delivered door to door.
Reared by a steep and imposing green wall of trees and suspended roots, yet facing the openness of the horizon and the lagoon, this natural reserve is a sanctuary in many senses, and its rhythm varies immensely throughout the seasons.
The film is a personal essay that follows that movement in time, from the solo winter to the summertimes of surfing waves and the Holy Spirit Festivities, when foreigners come in for a visit or a leap of faith. This place is a window to infinity, an island in an island.
This project started in New York, in 2011. It was summer and I was working in film production and had just returned from a short vacation in the Azores Islands, where I grew up. During those vacation days I went to the Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo with some friend, to spend the day hiking, swimming and enjoying the silent communion with nature. This place is in the Ramsar Convention List of Wetlands of International Importance, it is a natural reserve.When I went back to New York, my mind frequently wandered to that place, so I took it as a sign to take it into action and make a documentary film about it.
The film was shot in S. Jorge Island, Azores, specifically in the Fajã de Santo Cristo, during the 2012. Several trips were made in order to follow the seasons, people and its happenings.
S. Jorge island is volcanic in character with steep cliffs running down to the coast. This sleeping dragon shaped island is known for its fajãs. The cliffs break into the sea, collapse into this terraced flat lands called the fajãs. This northern Fajã is special for its saltwater lagoon, the only site in the Azores where clams grow. It is a mystery how they got there. It is a mysterious place overall.
It is a sanctuary, not only religiously, through the strong Holy Spirit celebration, and Senhor do Santo Cristo, but also for its meditative propensity. There is no electricity, only by generator, and the water comes down straight from the spring.
There are nine permanent inhabitants, and decreasing. The only way in is by foot or quad, in the old days donkeys and horses where used for this trail. It is so secluded that people refer to the Fajã as going “inside” and when going out of it “outside”. As if there were two different worlds. Perhaps there are.
This place enable a time travel, for its tough lifestyle renounces contemporary comforts we take for granted, as power or phone lines, or any decent communication services, there is hardly cellphone network either. There is no zip code, the mail is not delivered door to door. There is one restaurant/café, and no store to buy supplies. Besides the eminent land falls during raining season, or sea tempests entering the houses on stormy winter days. Despite all the above, and because of it, this is the perfect place to synchronize, reflect, live life at a slower pace, preparing for the future seeding, planting, harvesting, collecting wood, surf, swim, hike. And repeat. It is liberating. As if time doesn’t live there.