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Dead Slow Ahead (2015)

The freighter Fair Lady crosses the ocean. The hypnotic rhythm of its gears reveals the continuous movement of machinery devouring its workers: the last gestures of the old sailors' trade ... See full summary »

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The freighter Fair Lady crosses the ocean. The hypnotic rhythm of its gears reveals the continuous movement of machinery devouring its workers: the last gestures of the old sailors' trade disappearing under the mechanic and impersonal pace of 21st century neocapitalism. Perhaps it is a boat adrift, or maybe just the last example of an endangered species. Although we don't know it, the engines are still running, unstoppable. Written by Mauro Herce

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5 October 2016 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Charlotte  »

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1.85 : 1
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You Mean Everything To Me
Performed by Neil Sedaka
Written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
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User Reviews

 
Wyrd happenings

Dead Slow Ahead is a slow film that relies on visual composition, and very little on traditional dialogue-driven narrative. It is haunted and phosphorescent. If you have sojourned with such "slow cinema" films before, imagine a phantasmagoric version of Peter Hutton's At Sea. This is the nightmare to Hutton's reverie.

The movie follows the ship Fair Lady and its crew over the briny and through miasmic ports. You could call it an experimental documentary. Whilst on the one hand the movie is very literal, that is, it is showing the normal activities of an actual crew on a working ship, on the other it seems to be designed as some sort of introspection on humanity's current phase, characterised by overreach, ecocide and unsustainable activities.

A middle section of seascapes has a tone after Clark Ashton Smith, a ship wandering in search of safe harbour on a globe overcome by wyrd happenings. The treatment of the humans we see remains empathetic throughout, with the criticism being of the machines in which they are entwined. This is the dystopian vision of Lang's Metropolis come true.

Hints of the supernatural come from various shadow plays, spectral presences amongst the sailors. The movie has all the unreasoning beauty of the death wish, and regularly took my breath away.


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