Oscars: Portugal Selects 'The Domain' for International Feature Film Category

A Herdade still 1 - Venice Film Festival - H 2019
Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

Tiago Guedes' sweeping and intimate epic marries the fate of a wealthy land-owning family with Portugal's late 20th century history.

Portugal has chosen The Domain (A Herdade), Tiago Guedes' sweeping historical epic of a wealthy land-owning family, as its submission in the best international feature Oscar category.

At nearly three hours long, the film, which premiered in Venice and also played as a special presentation in Toronto, is an intensive and intimate examination of the second half of the 20th century in Portugal as seen through the lives and fates of a prominent family.

Starring well-known Portuguese stage actor Albano Jeronimo in his first film role as the head of the family, The Domain opens before the "Carnation Revolution" of 1974 before shifting to the economic challenges of the 1990s.

Although intimately entwined with modern Portuguese history, the pic does not demand too much local knowledge of its audiences. As The Hollywood Reporter's review noted: "Audiences not quite up on their Portuguese history won't have any major issues following the main thrust of the action, as the focus is always on how the political impacts the personal."

Produced by Leopardo Filmes, Afama Films Production, CB Partners and Ana Pinhao Moura Producoes, The Domain stars Albano Jeronimo and Sandra Faleiro as the couple at the head of the Fernandes clan.

International sales are being handled by Alfama Films.

Portugal has been submitting films to the Academy Awards for the past 40 years, but has yet to gain a nomination.

The 92nd Academy Awards are due to take place Feb. 9, 2020.