Henrique is a terse Portuguese smallholder who lives out in the hills, far from civilisation. We realise something is wrong in his life when occasional passers-by ask if there is any news about his daughters. The next day, he drives to a nearby village, follows someone and does something terrible. He then flees back to the hills. The almost entirely dialogue-free second half of the film focuses on Henrique as he hides out. We occasionally hear voices, or a helicopter swoops overhead. In the end, he returns to the village.
Ico Costa explicitly uses an elliptic narrative structure, to allow viewers to form a man from the clay he puts in front of them. Who is Henrique? Can his deed be understood? Is he telling the truth when he says he didn’t want to hurt anyone? In the meantime, almost incidentally, the stunning beauty of the landscape passes by. Henrique washes himself in the waters of a river – a river called Alva.