Far Away Lands
Far Away Lands
Have you ever looked out onto Howe Sound and wondered about the container ships at anchor there? What happens on these floating prisons? How do people make their lives at sea? Félix Lamarche’s elegant and poignant film takes us aboard one such cargo ship in a film that is at once monumental and intimate. Cinematographer Samuel de Chavigny’s dramatic seascapes and the massive machines of the ship make for stunning visuals on an oceanic scale — this is a film that demands to be seen on the big screen. Equally striking are the interior lives of the crew whose stories illuminate both the allure of life at sea and the grim financial realities that lead people to this extreme career.
Split between men from the Netherlands and the Philippines, the daily life for the crew reflects lives of routine and separation. As we hear the dreams they hope the sea will make reality, and the real lives they have left behind at home, the romance of the sea gives way to the isolation and dislocation of life far away from families and imagined futures. Just when the film threatens to slip into melancholy, Lamarche offers us moments of irony and humour to lighten the mood. The unadulterated kitsch of songs like Baccara’s Ay Ay Sailor help lift the spirits of the crew, and the film. Perhaps this is how one survives adrift in a floating prison, where even the birds are trapped! -JC