Visionary filmmaker Jean Epstein’s 1929 silent French drama blends documentary authenticity with rich cinematic invention to create a subtle homoerotic tale, the echoes of which can be heard in Mark Jenkin’s Bait and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.
Set on a deserted islet off the Brittany coast, a small group of seaweed fishermen work in complete isolation from the rest of the world. Two of them, Ambroise and Jean-Marie, have an argument over a broken bottle of wine and a missing knife - an disagreement which not only affects Ambroise and Jean-Marie’s relationship but the neighbouring community as well.
Supposedly based on a true story and acted by locals from the Breton island of Ouessant, Epstein’s timeless masterpiece about survival, relationships and isolation combined all the contemporary film techniques of the time (from avant-garde, realism and experimental) to make a spellbinding filmic poem of mankind and our relationship with the sea.
Restored in 4K in 2019 by Gaumont in collaboration with the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from the negative held at Cinémathèque Française.
Presented in partnership with South West Silents with support from BFI Film Audience Network.
With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.