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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 41: The Domain spans several decades of Portuguese history

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 41: The Domain spans several decades of Portuguese history

"The Domain (A Herdade) took about 10 years to make. Through the intimate view of a family, it shows a glimpse of the Portuguese society before and after the Carnation revolution that ended the dictatorship we were living in. It is a very special film for us, the makers. The movie portrays the reality of certain families which existed in South Portugal. The idea came from a very deep desire of producer Paulo Branco to make a movie on an imperfect character.”

These were words by actor Joao Pedro Mamede while addressing a press conference, at the 51st International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa. The film was officially selected for Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and is Portugal’s official entry for the Oscars. It had its Indian Première at IFFI 51, in the International Competition category.

Directed by Tiago Guedes, the film chronicles the story of a family, which owns one of the largest estates in Europe, on the south bank of the River Tagus, in Portugal. It portrays the historical, political, economic and social life of Portugal from the 1940s, right from the Carnation Revolution, to almost the present day. Noted Portuguese actor Albano Geronimo has played the leading role of João Fernandes.

“The movie begins in 1945, the revolution happens in 1970 and the film goes on till 1990s. The location of the movie is in a real estate.” said Mamede

When asked by this writer about Portugal’s colonial regime in Goa and the Goa-Portugal connection, Mamede said: “Our Prime Minister has his roots in Goa. I don’t know much about the colonial history. But I understand that there is a great Portuguese influence on Goan architecture.” He added that he really wants to know more about the history. “There is a big past to walk in terms of colonial history of both countries”.

The Carnation Revolution is the 1974 military coup in Lisbon which led to the fall of the Estado Novo regime, and led eventually to a series of events resulting in a democratic Portugal.

On seeing the film, I felt it was too long and extremely indulgent, often going nowhere.


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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