Round the corner or É já ali is a commonly used expression in Alentejo, a region in southern Portugal. The vast mountainous landscape and the sparse distribution of inhabitants create a very specific scale of both distance and time. Often, when asked for directions, people will say it’s ‘round the corner’ even though it could be more than an hour’s drive away.
Odemira, part of Alentejo, is the largest municipality in Portugal. It is also one of the country’s least densely populated areas. Its local touristic slogan - “Odemira - the best beaches in Portugal” - demonstrates how local governmental agents have been overlooking and neglecting inland regions of the municipality.
The long distances, difficult access, growing desertification of the area, and aging of the population have all led to a generalised feeling of segregation and abandonment.
The ongoing isolation, desertification and insufficient social engagement, has contributed to Odemira having the highest suicide rate per capita in Europe, one of the highest in the world, specially amongst the elderly. Studies suggest that low religiosity in the area also has a significant impact on these statistics.
Round the corner portrays the isolation that the landscape imposes on its people, while collecting personal stories on life in rural Alentejo and explores the prevalent suicide culture.