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by André Gil Mata


There’s nothing more unspectacular than collecting water, or is there? It’s a simple task, but here it takes nearly 45 minutes, in what feels like real time: the man walks through the narrow streets, dog in tow, stopping to pick up glass bottles at the bright doorways, before heading down to the dark river. A lengthy row, a trek overland and finally the bottles are filled. It’s already dawn. The night was silent, save for the sound of the bottles clinking together and the pounding of the guns in the distance, that must be why the man met no one, why everything is as still as a painting, like what the boy sees out of the window at the very beginning, a village plucked from a fairy tale. With all the lengthy tracking shots, it would be tempting to call this real life, but the quality of the light is slightly off-kilter, all saturated greens, reds and yellows; even the landscape is lit like a stage-set. The dog wanders off in the grey of the morning and the camera follows, until there is a boy and his mother, the boy from the beginning or a different one? The perspective changes, night returns and figures merge, all things come together at that single, solitary tree.

international title: The Tree
original title: Drvo
country: Portugal
year: 2018
genre: fiction
directed by: André Gil Mata
film run: 104'
release date: PT 27/09/2018, FR 26/05/2021
screenplay: André Gil Mata
cast: Petar Fradelić, Filip Živanović, Sanja Vrzić
cinematography by: João Ribeiro
film editing: Tomás Baltazar
art director: Sandra Neves
producer: Joana Ferreira, Isabel Machado
production: C.R.I.M. Productions
distributor: Ed Distribution
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