John Grierson 1929, Silent, (Scotland), 61 minutes

6af Diardaoin 30m An Damhair/6pm Thursday 30th October

Drifters_pic_2 (Large)

Still from Drifters

Probably the best known film on deep sea trawling, Drifters was made at the very end of the silent era.  For it, John Grierson combined the latest film-making techniques to make this remarkable, lyrical film, which heralded in a new era for actuality film. It propelled a film culture with such momentum that it gave rise to a unique and much envied aspect of Britain’s contribution to film history: what we now call the ‘documentary’.

Drifters itself is in the long tradition of the trawler film, celebrating the struggle of man and boat against the elements. But it also expresses the aesthetic beauty of the seas, the ship’s machinery, the glinting silver of the fish in the nets and the shine of rain on oilskins. The film was delicately tinted and toned to emphasize lighting effects.

“While clearly influenced, in a way Drifters is the opposite of Battleship Potemkin – whereas Eisenstein winds his clock up, Grierson slows his right down….”

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