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 »
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
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 »
I saw this film 45 years ago in Leningrad, my home town back in the Soviet Union. I was 17 at the time and belonged to a generation which produced rich crop of Russian dissidents later on. The film instantly became a cult movie among ambitious high school graduates and university students. I was one of them. We would go, sometime in groups, to any movie theater within 50 miles radius where the movie was playing to watch it over and over.
The movie was striking in its sharp black and white cinematographic form, its penetrating haunting sound track and above all in its mood which conveyed a sense of unrecoverable loss, and piercing feeling of loneliness.
Given what we knew of our own history and destiny, the film crystallized our feelings in purest artistic form. But the film also mesmerized us artistically and made us to want to watch it again and again if only to confirm that we did not dream it up. My age, the period, and the place where I discovered the film could have colored my perception. I would be the last person to insist on objectivity (who would?). But I wish I could watch it again now, 45 years later in the USA. I would rent or buy the film at the first opportunity.
P.S. Today is July 26 2009 and I've finally got my very own copy of 'Seagulls". My copy happened to be the very same Russified version which run in Russia in the days of my youth. I am pleased to report that I liked the film just as much as 50 years ago.
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