In his 2013 masterpiece What Now? Remind Me (NYFF51), Joaquim Pinto turned a first-person diary about chronic illness into an all-encompassing meditation on what it means to be alive. His latest film, co-directed with his husband Nuno Leonel, pulls off a similar balancing act between intimacy and expansiveness. The setting is the Azorean island of Rabo de Peixe, where small-scale fishermen introduce the filmmakers to the rhythms of their labor-intensive routines, artisanal traditions that face extinction in the global economy. Initially broadcast on Portuguese television in an abbreviated version, this new director’s cut is a tender portrait of a community that, through Pinto’s associative narration, frequently extends into more personal and philosophical realms, contemplating such topics as the value of manual work and the meaning of freedom. Fish Tail is as lovely as it is quietly profound, a film that at once acknowledges and transcends cinema’s long romance with maritime ethnography.

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