Wednesday, May 12, 2010

John Grierson

John Grierson's Drifters (1929) is a silent documentary about herring fishermen in Scotland and how they take their fleet 40 miles offshore in the North Sea to seek a good catch. Grierson tells a purely visual story, with very few title cards, about the gathering, processing, marketing, and global distribution of the fish. The film celebrates the brawn and endurance of the fishermen, particularly in a memorable sequence of men hauling seemingly endless nets filled with fish into their trawler. Grierson's cross-cutting contrasts a sense of timelessness (with images of seagulls and fish, for example) with an evocation of modernity, speed, industry, and efficiency.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.