Portuguese drama 'A Herdade' chronicles one landowner's tale amid change

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - A landowner must learn to adapt to changes sweeping his country in Portuguese film “A Herdade” (The Domain), a nearly-three hour long drama about a domineering family patriarch.

The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, tells the story of Joao Fernandes, who owns a massive country estate on the southern bank of the River Tagus.

The film is set in the run up to Portugal’s 1974 “Carnation” revolution that ended a four-decade-long dictatorship and led the country to democracy.

“(Fernandes) has his own emotional heritage and he thinks that he needs to keep the land, and the world changes in a way that that’s no longer possible,” director Tiago Guedes told a news conference.

“I don’t think he even realizes it with a conscience, what happened, but the world changed around him.”

Albano Jeronimo plays Fernandes, who over time not only has to try to keep his land profitable but also has to deal with a long-running family secret.

“It was all based on imperfection ... I tried to build something, not a character type, more like a human,” he said, speaking in English.

“And we are all imperfections so my aim was just that: build something (that’s) not finished.”

“A Herdade” is one of 21 films competing for the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award. The winner will be announced on Saturday.

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Helena Williams, Editing by William Maclean