Our Land, Our Altar, the feature debut by André Guiomar, is a documentary about the inhabitants of a social housing block in Aleixo, a poor neighbourhood in Porto. It’s a film that plays in two halves: the first takes place in 2013, which is two years after it was announced that the building would be torn down, and the residents are still awaiting their eviction notices. The second half takes place six years later, and it’s in making the jump between these two time periods that Our Land, Our Altar wields its power.
Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa
Home is where the heart is in Our Land, Our Altar. The feature directing debut of André Guiomar documents and dignifies the lives of the last residents in a social housing estate in Porto where eviction has become inevitable.
– – Guiomar clearly has great affection for his subjects and his presence is very unobtrusive. He allows us to be present within the community and also has a great eye, picking out an old man feeding pigeons, a china doll with a broken arm, a blind man playing dominoes and a turtle in a fish tank. All kinds of lives are lived here, connections formed that run deep. – –
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. Guiomar speaks in a quiet, observant tone but his film is heard loud and clear.
Allan Hunter, Screen Daily