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Fishing Without Nets (2012)

Jallaabasho shabaq la'aan (original title)
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Pirates in Somalia, from the perspective of the pirates.


1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
(as Abdi Muktar)
Abu Bakr Mirre ...
(as Abu Bakr Mire)
Ali Daudi Osman ...
(as Ali Osman)
Abdulkadir Hassan
Abdulahi Sagar
Mahane Muktar
Nasra Ahmed
Osman Awale
Peter Treunen
Ros Mohamed
Farrah Mohamed
Harold Otieno
Adan Mari Mari
Mohamed Kare
Mahad Osman Mahad


In Somalia, principled, young husband and father Abdi turns to piracy to support his family. While his wife and child wait for him in Yemen, an outdated and fragile satellite phone is his only connection to all he truly values. Abdi and his fellow pirates hit the high seas and capture a French oil tanker, demanding a hefty ransom. During the long, tedious wait for the cash to arrive, Abdi forges a tentative friendship with one of the hostages. When some of the pirates resort to violence, Abdi must make dramatic choices to determine his course. Shot in East Africa using Somali nonactors, Fishing Without Nets tells the mesmerizing and sobering story of the bandits from the Somali point of view. First-time feature filmmaker Cutter Hodierne, whose short film of the same name won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, combines the epic cinematic vision of a glorious action thriller with the intimate, textured qualities of an art film, humanizing the pirates ... Written by C.L. & K.Y.

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Plot Keywords:

piracy | pirate ship | See All (2) »



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Release Date:

2012 (Kenya)  »

Also Known As:

Fishing Without Nets  »

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Remade as Fishing Without Nets (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Provides insight into something I'm sure few truly consider
30 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cutter Hodierne's short film Fishing Without Nets backs in more contemplative themes and ideas than most feature-length films do with the time, resources, and capabilities they bear. Despite its short runtime working against it, this is a film about choices and hopelessness; hopelessness that is only alleviated, or at the very least briefly remedied by danger and deception from a vicious group of people that are doing wrong in an attempt to live right. This is the kind of material that begs a feature film, but, as all great ideas, it had to start somewhere.

The short focuses on a group of Somalian individuals, some relishing in their ability to be pirates and go out on treacherous waters every day in hopes to hijack a ship filled with goods, and others cruelly indecisive about whether or not to join the pirates and their missions. One character in the film has a bold realization, stating that the Somalian pirates have all the money in the country, and if one doesn't hop on board with their idea of violence and danger in the pursuit of a viable living, then they, in addition to their family, are stuck on the outskirts of all the wealth.

It's a tricky situation and Hodierne doesn't sugarcoat it, bouncing back between the perspective of the pirates and other Somalian civilians who have yet to make potentially the biggest and most impacting decision of their lives. Hodierne's tonal and perspective shifts, however, pose a jarring inconsistency in the short's focus, which only makes one realize that this is material ripe for a feature-length film (into which it was later developed in 2014). Its occasionally choppy and dodgy focus points only show that this is material that is already bursting at its confines with possibilities, and we get the feel that Hodierne cannot wait to finish shooting, editing, and distributing this to get started on the bigger opportunities.

However, for what we have to go off of, Fishing Without Nets is a crisply shot and nicely made short, suspenseful at times, eerily peaceful at others, and investing almost the entire way through. It's also a short that poses thoughtful points about a country that inspire negative or pessimistic thoughts from nearly anyone who hears the name of the land. Here's a short that, in an non-judgmental way, poses questions and gets audiences to actively think about something we probably don't put much thought to. In that respect, it caters to one of the most fundamental features of cinema.

Directed by: Cutter Hodierne.

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