The first opened the way for the avant-garde, and the lyrical and abstract aspects of a subject that can be established by a use of image and montage that is both rigorous and sensitive, one could even say poetic, if one takes the word in its strictest sense. In the second, the North Sea is still present but is observed with the eye of a documentary maker, which is the second path followed by the filmmaker. To watch men at work, capture their gestures, enter into the cycle of production, show the machines and the tools, to create a sort of anthropology of manual work became one of the themes of Henri Storck’s films.
Une pêche au hareng is a silent film interspersed with informative title cards that precede and explain the action and situations. A ship leaves the port of Ostend, the nets are cast, but when it enters French territorial waters it is inspected by the coast guards.
This miniature naval battle, an incident provoked by the filming, ends without problems for the filmmaker. The images and shots play on proximity, bringing together the fishermen’s faces, the ropes, the sea, the flash of the fish, and the baskets full of the sea’s bounty.
Director : Henri Storck
Film commissioned by the Shipping administration. Mr. Lippens, Minister of Shipping, is mentioned on the title cards
35mm/B and W/silent/15’/1930
The particularity of Une pêche au hareng is that it has taken on an historic character. This short film can be compared to Drifters, the only film made by John Grierson – ideologist or prophet or moving force behind the documentary movement in Great Britain. The film was made at about the same time and on an identical subject, apart from the difference in latitude.
Jean Queval, Henri Storck ou la traversée du cinéma, 1976