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 »
One of the first cosmopolitan motion pictures in Flemish film history
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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