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387 Ratings

Episode of the Sea

Netherlands, 2014
Documentary, Avant-Garde


A document of a contemporary North Sea fishery and the fishermen’s struggle with a changed public perception, fluctuating regulations, and excessive global competition, while parallels are drawn between fishing and filmmaking.

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Episode of the Sea Directed by Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan
To make clear that these are not the real subjects, these amateur actors from Urk stiffly declaim their dialogue, facing forward, their faces and bodies strongly lit and seemingly engraved into the pristine 35mm black-and-white stock. No faux verite here, no transparency: The film is rigorously Brechtian. We are mere observers locked out of the narrative.
February 12, 2015
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Shot in bracing black-and-white and interspersed with lengthy text scrolls explaining the project, it’s almost like a riposte to the total immersion of Leviathan, taking some inspiration and its title from La Terra Trema (which was originally subtitled “Episode of the Sea” and planned as part of a trilogy).
January 12, 2015
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Pulling inspiration from… John Ford’s episodic, chiaroscuro seaman’s portmanteau The Long Voyage Home (1940), Straub-Huillet’s techniques of staging recitations from non-professionals, Peter Nestler’s deeply observant and sharply political documentaries, and with a spiritual link to the best of the National Film Board’s form-challenging portraits of marginalized communities, the result is a porous portrait working many different tacks yet unexpectedly and compassionately coherent.
December 19, 2014
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