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Meeuwen sterven in de haven (1955)

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A pessimistic urban drama, with a musical score by Jack Sels and Max Damasse, charts in strongly expressionistically lit black-and-white images the wanderings of a tormented man through the... See full summary »


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Title: Meeuwen sterven in de haven (1955)

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Credited cast:
Tine Balder ...
Tone Brulin ...
Alice De Graef
Jenny Deheyder
Piet Frison ...
Désiré Kaesen
Robert Kaesen ...
(as Bob Kaesen)
Gisèle Peeters ...
Weesmeisje (as Gigi)
Eric Peter
Marcel Philippe
Paul S'Jongers
Julien Schoenaerts ...
Panchita Van de Perre
Dora van der Groen ...
Albert Van der Sanden


A pessimistic urban drama, with a musical score by Jack Sels and Max Damasse, charts in strongly expressionistically lit black-and-white images the wanderings of a tormented man through the cosmopolitan port city of Antwerp. The only people to show him understanding are an orphan and two disillusioned women. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

14 October 1955 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Les mouettes meurent au port  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


BEF 1,000,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


A movie made by a film critic (Roland Verhavert), a writer (Ivo Michiels) and an amateur film-maker (Rik Kuypers). The film introduced aesthetics into Flemish film and heralded the beginning of a serious fully-formed cinema. See more »

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User Reviews

One of the first cosmopolitan motion pictures in Flemish film history
6 June 2006 | by (Gent, Belgium) – See all my reviews

Meeuwen sterven in de haven (1955) was one of the first - if not the first - cosmopolitan motion pictures in Flemish film history. Set in the post-World War II harbour city of Antwerp, this existentialist drama portrays the problematic quest of a tormented tramp (Julien Schoenaerts) searching for salvation. As he pieces together the jigsaw of his calamitous past - due to traumatic war experiences - there are only three people to morally support him in facing the inconvenient present: a six-year-old orphan, a mysterious skipper's wife (Tine Balder) and a concerned prostitute (Dora van der Groen).

Notwithstanding the admirable efforts of the directing triumvirate (Rik Kuypers, Ivo Michiels and Roland Verhavert) to depict their personages in a semi-poetical realism, playing with images, exposure, montage and music, the characters at times find themselves lost in a maze of social sublimation, clairvoyant dialogue, superficial avant-garde and naïve, cultivated conformism. But considered in its historical context, this picture is a step that had to be taken in paving the way for more level-headed Belgian cinematography.

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