SEAFARERS Jason Massot

Documentary Video 78:00 2004 UK U.S. Premiere

“I wanted to make a documentary about male solitude. I also wanted to capture a world where men are transient; where no one really has somewhere they call home. These two subjects came together in Rotterdam, the world’s largest port.

Even though seafarers are responsible for transporting the world’s wealth, they themselves are paid a pittance and work far away from the comforts of friends and family. The emotional, sexual and economic pressure this brings on them is immense.

On board, their lives are slow and filled with downtime. I felt it was crucial to give the viewers a total portrait of their lives, so I have chosen to emphasis this downtime ­ doing crosswords, watching videos ­ so that viewers can feel the weight of time passing and so enter their lives more fully.

For the same reason, I have resisted the temptation to ‘tidy up’ their thoughts. Often, in the way of lonely people, their thoughts just go round and round their heads with no outlet. And I believe the seafarers’ repetitions and inconsistencies bring us closer to their humanity.

In short, I wanted to reveal seafarer’s stories and unprick this world where humor and stoicism are the only defenses against loneliness, low wages and the absence of women.” ­ Jason Massot

Seafarers features a moving score by Will Oldham.


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