IMDb > Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back (1998)

Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back (1998) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
23 November 2005 (France) See more »
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User Reviews:
stirring portrait of gentrification See more (2 total) »

Directed by
Braden King 
Laura Moya 
Original Music by
Boxhead Ensemble 
Cinematography by
Braden King 
Film Editing by
Braden King 
Laura Moya 

Production CompaniesDistributors

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80 min


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
stirring portrait of gentrification, 19 March 2001
Author: brokencircle ( from gambier, ohio

This film has become one of my favorites in the two years that I've owned it. It disguises itself as an art-film, while sneaking behind and whispering the dangers and insidiousness of civilization as America invades what one of the narrators terms, "the last place to go." Shot in grainy 16mm black and white film, it lets the inhabitants of Dutch Harbor talk about their experiences in the town and the surrounding sea. Most of them have something to do with the fishing industry (the world's largest harvestor of king crab), and they all express concern with how uncivilized wild that was Dutch Harbor until a few years ago, is being slowly made into a town that could exist anywhere else in the country. Granted, it has quite aways to go (the roads are only now beginning to be paved), but it is really (to use a hackneyed phrase), the principle of the whole thing. There is this beautiful, untamed island in the Alutian islands (Unalaska, where Dutch Harbor is), and there is a very real threat of gentrification to somewhere that is beautiful and good the way it is, and those who are there are completely content with it. It is ludicrous to assume that this is somewhere that needs to be updated. If they wanted otherwise, those who are there would do otherwise. The soundtrack also makes a huge impact on the film. Performed by the Boxhead Ensemble, a group of musicians mostly from Chicago (members of Tortoise, ex-Gastr del Sol, Vandermark 5, Eleventh Dream Day, The Lofty Pillars, etc), the music is as close to ice and cold as you can get using instruments. The film, as well as the music, is sweeping, intimate, sad and hopeful. A beautiful film-going experience in every sense of the word.

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