Glory at Sea - Short Film Review


With Beasts of the Southern Wild receiving rave reviews and awards at festivals all over the world, including the palm d'or at Cannes, it suddenly grabbed the worlds attention and put the spotlight on the new-age production company 'Court 13'. A group that believes film making is 'not as a matter of financial circumstance but as a spiritual requirement'.

I decided to take a look at their previous work and particularly at their previous award winning short 'Glory at Sea' to see if all the hype is worth it.

Directed by Benh Zeitlin - the same guy directing the current Court 13 feature success - Glory at Sea is an incredibly romantic tale about a group of the inhabitants of New Orleans who lost loved ones in floods and storms throughout the years and set sail using objects that they find lucky to go searching for them.

Apparently, New Orleans is now being called 'Hollywood South' because of the large number of films being shot their since 2002, and after watching Glory at Sea I completely understand why. There is a constant romanticism about the place. Anything logical and new has been washed away and all that remains is love, pure, illogical love. For the place, for what they once all had and just to keep going in memory of those who they’ve lost. It makes for an incredible film backdrop.


"I try and think about how this storm and all these people dyin' was all a part of God's plan. But mostly, I just stare up through the water hopin' I can have one last look at them."


The location being a main character in itself, just as alive as any of its psychologically stunned inhabitants, is really portrayed as such through incredible framing, cinematography, natural lighting and some beautifully mystical underwater shots.

The best way of describing it is something along the lines of a more romantic Terrance Malick: less preachy and philosophical and more Apollonian and heart felt. It is clear that Malick is a big influence to Zeitlin. Styles like: hand held camera, particular attention to mise-en-scene, soft poetic voice overs and that ultimate unexplainable inevitability to it all.

Court 13 are an inspirational company to every amateur film maker, a lack of generic film hierarchy and a real heart and soul that is always welcome in the unappreciated art form.

And if Glory at Sea is anything like Beasts of the Southern Wild you better not forget you tissues in the cinema.