Europe's Wild West
Director / Producer:
Alexander Sommer, Philipp Klein, Christian Baumeister
LIGHT & SHADOW
WDR, NDR Doclights, National Geographic
As the last stretch of land before the endless blue of the Atlantic, Portugal was once the main departure point for European sailors and adventurers heading off on their voyages of discovery. In this film we take you on a voyage of discovery to a world they left behind: the natural world of Europe’s wild west.
From the rugged continental mountain plateaus and lush green valleys of the north to the storm-tossed Atlantic coast and the sun-drenched Mediterranean south, Portugal is home to a host of unique landscapes. It is the meeting point of a warm Mediterranean climate and cool Atlantic currents, and boasts flora and fauna of Central European, Mediterranean, and even African origins. In short, it is an unequalled hotspot of species diversity in Europe.
In the mountain regions of the north, the howling of the wolves echoes through bleak gorges and griffon vultures fly majestically over thousand-meter-high mountain ridges. It is also home to one of the last herds of wild horses in Europe. Meanwhile the wind whips up giant waves off the coast of Cabo Sardão where white storks nest at dizzying heights, defying the raging surf and trying to raise their young.
In the grain belt of central Portugal, the Alentejo, the few remaining great bustards of the Iberian Peninsula can be seen performing their courtship displays. Wherever cork oak forests dominate the landscape, a mysterious hunter stalks under cover of darkness. The genet is a skilful climber and the sparrows that nest in the cork oaks must be careful.
Further to the south, on the spectacular beaches of the Algarve, fiddler crabs perform their courtship dance while seahorses mate in the crystal-clear waters. Well-camouflaged chameleons lie patiently in wait then shoot out their sticky tongues, capturing their prey in milliseconds. This visually stunning show paints a whole new picture of Europe's Wild West.