Jon Jost looks meticulously. At length. He trusts his skills as a cameraman and he trusts that what he sees and admires will also be admired by others. And if others don’t see it or don’t have the patience, then that’s just how it is. Jost is one of the most unconventional and free-thinking of film makers, radical in his views and approach. He was one of the first film makers of his generation to embrace the possibilities of digital video. It gave him an almost absolute freedom and he has not given up that freedom again.
The shots in Portugal (especially of the Alfama district of Lisbon) date from more than a decade ago (1997-98). Personal circumstances probably made him set aside the material. This is not the place to discuss that. But the pause, be it enforced or not, gave the material an unreal and beautiful patina. That’s how fast the melancholy Portugal of the 'saudade' has disappeared. It’s beautiful that we can still see it here.