The Fisherman’s Daughter

The Fisherman’s Daughter

****

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"I am a man upon the land, I am a selchie on the sea." The Fisherman's Daughter draws inspiration from the legend of the selkie, but it says as much about families and communities.

Mary is out every night, and there is talk. The fishwives, lit by lantern, are all aflutter, until the mass of them (credited as "old crows" and "young crows") strike a gossip crescendo.

There is something distinctly old-fashioned, classic here, even delightfully retrograde. Stark black and white, close shots of rowing, a vigil by the creels, the kind of static camera work one associates with Ealing comedies or newsreel footage of the islands. Moody, meditative, and of tremendous quality. Silhouettes seemingly painted on the frame, lounging on the headland. An arm and chin lit by wandering lantern, the sawing of a violin, the anguished cry "Don't let them take her!"

Tom P Chick writes and directs, and while it's a minimal tale it is no less powerful for it. The best shorts say their piece and move on, nary a motion wasted - this is one of them. Leo Bridle's animated contribution is minimal, but telling, managing again to give the film the feel of something made some 60 years ago, and that no bad thing. Neil Smith's music helps with atmosphere, but much of is drawn from that simple monochrome, an aesthetic that makes this tale ageless, classic. This is beautiful, haunting stuff, and a pleasure to watch.

Reviewed on: 09 Feb 2012
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Concerned by local gossip, a father follows his daughter one night and discovers a tragic secret.
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Director: Tom Chick

Starring: Kenna Barrow, Mark Jardine, Andrea McKenna

Year: 2011

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

Glasgow 2012

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