A film by Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel
2015, 103 minutes
No. 001

Rabo de Peixe (literally translated as ‘fish tail’) is the name of a village in the Azores that is home to the largest collection of artisanal fisheries on the whole archipelago. The residents, mostly local fishermen and their families, have relied on these waters for generations. In recent years however, global industrial overfishing has created significant problems, throwing their livelihood into uncertainty and threatening to wipe out a centuries-old profession.

Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel (directors of the extraordinary 2013 documentary What Now? Remind Me) first came here at the end of 1998 to bring in the New Year. After befriending a young fisherman named Pedro, they decided to make a film with him over the following year, a TV documentary was created but tampered with by the broadcaster and shown only once.

They have now edited the same material into something new; a tender essay rooted in friendship and fascination. The two of them follow Pedro out to sea to land mackerel and swordfish or just drink in the atmosphere of the island: rippling fish shoals, fireworks over the harbour, a procession through slender white streets, bodies on black sand.

Themes emerge unobtrusively: the virtue of working by hand, industrial restrictions, the slippery concept of a free man. Here, friends can easily commandeer the camera, there’s enough room for sea monsters and stories and the very grain of the footage adds to its beauty.

Fish Tail is a beautiful documentary from two remarkable filmmakers - an anthropological study of an island community and a way of life that is quickly disappearing around the world.

Winner, Potemkin Prize, Festival du Reel
Winner, Best International Feature, Panorama Internacional
Official Selection, Coisa de Cinema Festival
Official Selection, Berlin Film Festival

“An insightful documentary… sheer depth of thought and rare sensitivity pulses through every frame.” - Screen Daily

"Highly recommended! An exposure to a traditional lifestyle that is rapidly disappearing... The filming and sound work at sea is extraordinary." - Educational Media Reviews Online

“Outstanding. A fascinating look at this particular way of living.” - Twitchfilm

“An enchanting documentary. If Rossellini had ever made it to the Azores, he might have come up with something akin to Fish Tail.” - Senses of Cinema

“The filmmakers’ intimate style, rich with quiet observations of the quotidian at its most beautiful and cosmic, is unmatched in current nonfiction cinema.” -