Friday, September 19, 2008

Surrendering Seamen

United Kingdom

Showcase 5 had some memorable shorts - but for me, "Surrendering Seamen" stuck out the most. At under two minutes long, the director managed to use a simple setting of one man in a boat helping a stranded man in his boat. While this seems like a straightforward premise, the film team's editing skills is really where the genius behind this film came forward. Through editing and a narrator, a new story and plot came forward. It reminded me of those Japanese obstacle course shows that are aired stateside, with English voice overs that completely mock and turn each act into hilarity, even though its far from what the original intention of the video is.

Through this genius editing, "Surrendering Seamen" begins with one man approaching a stranded man, each man in a boat. The narrator, well, narrates the exchange, indicating that as one man is mocking the other for being in a broken boat, the other man rants about how big of a slut the man's sister is, and it just implodes afterwards. In the end, they each help eachother, and all seems to be forgiven between these two seamen.

It wasn't until after the short ended that it dawned on me that this video was quite possibly just a scene with no planning. What I mean by this is if it hadn't been for the editing technique, this would just be an everyday scene, something that would be equally exciting as watching someone change a tire or load groceries into their car. It's an interesting idea that many film makers toy with - extracting artistic practicality from everyday scenes. I felt caught up in the relationship between the two seamen through the passion behind the narrator's exchange. It gave life to this everyday event that was worth remembering.

Plus, it was hilarious.


Paola said...

I must agree with you Amy! the short was hilarious and it did look like a scene one would encounter in every day life!

Kim S said...

I think this short film is really funny- mostly because of the unexpected and pervy turn that the conversation takes. It reminds me that clever narration can interpret almost any situation and morph it from mediocrity to hilarity. From a very removed perspective it is interesting to think that these 2 men probably have no idea that their fiasco is being enjoyed so thoroughly by strangers.

Paul Klein said...

I saw this film in Showcase #5, and I don't really remember any narration. There was text on the screen, which was done very goofy and very funny, but is this real narration?

Also, you make a lot of comments about how this film was edited, but if memory serves me right, this was all one shot. There were no real edits here; text on the screen may qualify for editing, but I'm not too sure it does.

I thought this was an interesting piece, especially at 1:45; but it also left me feeling uninspired, which I guess is the opposite you felt, judging by your review. I mean, I could go out and shoot anything, throw some text on the screen, and call it a "short film" - this is the argument we've been having in class as to what truly makes a short film. Is intention really relevant?

Glad you enjoyed the film! See you in class!


Victoria M. said...

While this wasn't my favorite short in the showcase, it was definitely unique. I think this short gives the impression that it was a relatively easy task to accomplish, but simplicity is something that has become very unappreciated of lately. Anyone (with a big budget I suppose) can put on a big feast for the eyes, with lights, wardrobe, special effects yet it is a much more difficult task to take a simple idea and communicate it to the public. That's what real art is about in the end. Yes, anyone can also pick up a camera and film a random moment, but not everyone can capture the uniqueness of that moment. While it's not probable that the two men were saying those actual words to each other at that moment, it is possible because that's how people talk. So to me it was interesting that the filmmakers put an everyday situation with an everyday conversation (even if it was kind of insulting) to make an improbable but possible situation.

Kate Naseef said...

There actually was narration AND text on the screen. It wasn't silent, as one commentor seemed to remember it.

I thought it was well done and unique, and the text on the screen was done well, which is rare. It wasn't Times New Roman scrolling. Now that is uninspiring.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this film helped show that there can be artistic imagery taken from all of our lives. :)

Anonymous said...

So much more of the film's value is outside of what was originally caught on film. Editing and craft was really utilized to make it interesting.

Jake F said...

Keep in mind that this probably wasn't "found footage" because I'm sure the film was filmed for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

Well this comes back to an idea of original intention. Just because it was filmed to be edited, is that better or worse than being found and explored?

Levon said...

I liked the film better when I thought it was found, and I'm not sure why. It feels more creative that way. I'm sure that's how Amy felt as well when this blog was written.