The Portuguese arte xávega is a traditional form of fishing, still practiced in very few places. The method has barely changed over the centuries: a net is trawled by a wooden fishing boat off the coast, then dragged back to the beach. This was once done by oxen, but tractors have now taken their place.
In O arrais do mar, such a net is hauled in at night, with only tractor headlights and flashlights to illuminate the scene. Further along the coast, in even more shadowy surroundings, you can occasionally see the silhouettes of people in search of sexual encounters. We hear a telephone conversation in the soundtrack.
The dark images in this essayistic short film, with the sound of the surf in the background, create a distinctive atmosphere, as if this is a no-man’s-land without control or supervision, a place of danger and excitement by the sea. No place for daylight.