Sail the Documentary Waters!
Break free from your daily worries and set out to the documentary waters for one week during which we present films whose directors are fascinated by the water element and life with water, whether a harmonious or a strenuous one. Grab your online steering wheel and sail the film waters that can be both calm and tumultuous, well-known and unexplored. The direction and date are clear! From April 4 to 10, you can fish out original documentaries from the ocean of the film catalogue at DAFilms.com!
They represent an exceptional fleet in the field of documentary film. Their port is at Harvard University under whose auspices the creative platform Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) works on highly acclaimed films moving in a wide genre range between anthropologic research and documentary. The theme of water and the relation of human culture to this often overlooked life giver is naturally in the focus of the cameras of the filmmakers gathered at SEL.
American director J. P. Sniadecki, who currently lives in contemporary China, invites us for a ride on Shanghai’s Huangpu River in his short film THE YELLOW BANK. You can enjoy the river along with the intensive landscape of the megapolis during the longest solar eclipse and experience the unique moment when the city switches from darkness to daylight. In their documentary LEVIATHAN, the directing duo Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor use dozens of cameras to penetrate the traditional livelihood that nature brought man, following the never-ending, sometimes even ironically comical everyday struggle of the local fishermen with the deep waters of the ocean and its inhabitants on the coast of Massachusetts.
Do not forget to follow the list of other documentary films by filmmakers from SEL online here!
The filmography of famous documentary icons, too, includes unique perspectives on the phenomenon of water and stories of people related to it. In one of his earliest films BOATMAN, the recent holder of the second Golden Bear from Berlinale, Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, sets out on a boat trip on the sacred Ganges River to make an extraordinary collage of portrayals of anonymous persons to whom the river became the centre of their poor world.
In THE FERRY, Famous Latvian director Laila Pakalnina has chosen a shorter passage. The short documentary from the early 1990s captures the functioning of a ferry in Latvia’s border town of Piedruja. While the life linked to the monotonous journeys between Latvia and Belorussia seems completely undisturbed, the political disintegration of the former bloc of Eastern socialist countries, the Soviet Union, shakes the surrounding world.
Were you captivated by the films by Laila Pakalnina and Gianfranco Rosi? Do not hesitate and stream their film retrospectives! On your documentary journey through the waters of DAFilms.com, our monthly or yearly film subscription might come in handy.
Pull the anchor, put the wind in your sails and don’t go off the right course – in the direction of quality online documentaries!
Films for the event
Água Fria (Orig.) / 2012 / Portugal / 14 min
At the ritual celebrations of Saint Bartholomew of the Sea, disillusionment helps the feet enter the cold water. It's like a whisper, indifferent to the distorted music that echoes round the beach. Disillusionment makes these people beg to heaven what they cannot achieve on earth. How many are the dreams they dare not dream?
Leviathan (Orig.) / 2012 / United States / 87 min
In the very waters where Melville’s pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras — tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker — it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.
The Yellow Bank (Orig.) / 2010 / China, United States / 27 min
A short documentary that captures the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, The Yellow Bank takes you on a contemplative boat ride across the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. Filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki, who lived and worked in Shanghai nine years earlier, uses the eclipse as a catalyst to explore the way weather, light, and sound affect the urban architectural environment during this extremely rare phenomenon...
Songhua (Orig.) / 2007 / China, United States / 28 min
In northeastern China the Songhua River flows west from the border of Russia to the city of Harbin, where four million people depend on it as a source of water. Songhua is a portrait of the varying people that gather where the river meets the city, and an ethnographic study of the intimate ways in which they play and work...