Rodrigo Areias / P - FIN, 2011
Portuguese version / English and Czech subtitles, 95 min
The year is 1908. A middle-aged man finds out that his brother has died and he sets out to avenge his death, and also to round up his scattered flock of sheep. During his journey the man won’t have to dodge bullets or join in any light-hearted saloon banter, as the film’s Western slant might suggest, but there might be a few mellow debates on various issues that are still relevant one hundred years on. The film reflects upon universal values and, through its lead character, spreads a sense of tranquillity, giving the impression that justice will be served. It’s not simply the easy-going tempo or the surprisingly topical quotations from Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” which shift the film onto the level of a timeless mystery. Hay Road generates a meditative tone and subliminal tension which compensate for the absence of the explicit drama we generally associate with genre films.