It's the Earth Not the Moon

The lure of islands as places apart from yet delicately connected to the rest of civilization make them powerful places for filmmakers to land. When they do, they follow Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe, Golding, and others drawn to the island as a place to unpack immense ideas about creation and being-“island mind,” as the English novelist John Fowles precisely terms it. The ocean odyssey in Gonçalo Tocha's astonishing, out-of-nowhere 2007 diary documentary, Balaou, leads to an oceanic landing in this sophomore film about the remote Azores island of Corvo. Already present in the title is the inherent consciousness of island-as-world, but also a reminder that the voyager is still on this planet. The project's frankly absurd goal is “to be everywhere at the same time and not miss a thing . . . to film every face, every service, every house, every street, every workplace, every corner of the island, every tree, every rock, every bird.” Thus, we delight in a furtive satire of the anthropological documentary, the informational documentary, and the armchair adventure, made with almost naïve sincerity.

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