The director Jorge Pelicano presents viewers with a thesis. Starting from a case study (the destruction of the vintage Tua railway line in order to construct a dam), he tackles the pressing issue of the abandonment of the interior regions of Portugal. He starts the film with the shocking fact: “34% of the population has abandoned Trás-os-Montes in the past three decades”. And he complements this with a speech by Mário Soares: “The condition of being in the interior has weighed on this area like a judicial sentence and it explains, albeit without justifying them, so many of the shortcomings and insufficiencies that still exist today”. And one question remains throughout the film: is the construction of a dam a sign of development or destruction?
In his exposition of this thesis, he has a number of allies: people’s faces (almost always close-ups), the landscape, which is just like a character in this film, some completely nonsensical situations and the presentation of the weakness and contradictions of political discourse over the years, exposing those behind it to ridicule. This documentary takes the form of a traditional road movie (not on a road but along a railway), occasionally interspersed with archive images and current news items. The excellent sound effects and the superb soundtrack complement the images perfectly.
In conclusion, the film/thesis ends with a funeral procession. Before this, someone says “What remains for old people to do is to sit by the fireside and wait for death”. The same old people who, at the beginning of the film, shouted “We want the train!”