As the demolition teams moved into the run-down Aleixo estate to execute part of a ‘gentrification’ programme, André Guiomar began the six-year shoot which resulted in this poignant study of lives being lived under imminent threat from the wrecking-ball. If the first half of the film is a celebration, then the second half is a lamentation.
Filmed six years later, it depicts an area that has become a ghost town. The wind howls through empty buildings. ‘Our Land, Our Altar’ is never explicitly political. It allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions but there is no doubting the forces of gentrification and the casual disregard for lives that don’t seem to matter.