Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Project Advisor 2
Berlenga Grande is an island situated in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal, belonging to a small archipelago, the Berlengas. This film is set in the winter, when the lighthouse keepers are the only ones populating the island, one week at a time. During that one week, the two lighthouse keepers share a house and several routine maintenance tasks in and around the lighthouse.
“Berlenga Grande” is a film about the pace of the winter in this island, which involves mundane responsibilities, as much as it involves the simple passage of time, waiting for the day the boat arrives to make that short – but seemingly so long – trip to the mainland. In this way, the process of making this film is inevitably part of its narrative. Cook, read, eat, sleep, pushups, eat, bathroom, cook, watch the lighthouse keepers, go fishing, sleep. The repetition between these images is at the core of what it is like to wait for a boat that comes once a week. And the boat finally comes, and the routine on the island is still the same. Once a crew of lighthouse keepers is picked up, another one is dropped off, and from that moment on, they wait.
While watching the keepers, it was striking how differently we interacted with the island. They have been there time and time again, in every season the year has to offer. They know the island better than anyone, still they cannot wait but to leave. They do not look anymore. On the other hand, it was my first time on the island, and looking was something I could not run away from. The thousands of seagulls over our heads; the daily rainbows, double rainbows, triple rainbows, crossing the entirety of the island; the mainland that looked so close but felt so far away.
And to this date, the lighthouse keeps on blinking every night, giving one second of light followed by nine seconds of darkness.
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Neto Carvalho, Vitor Tiago, "Berlenga Grande" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 173.
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