The Sea Speaks

He always thought of the sea as ‘la mar’ which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman.” Ernest Hemingway’s protagonist in The Old Man and the Sea pondered the gender of the sea, but he might as well have been reflecting on this video essay, which also floats ideas of femininity and the maritime. Video essay duo Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin take us out to sea in this mash-up of Jean Epstein movies.


This entry in their series of videos for Dutch outlet De Filmkrant forgoes the voice over narration they often use, relying instead on a poetic montage. Using recurring visual motifs, matching actions and corresponding emotional affect as its guidance, this video weaves together footage from seven different Epstein films. The result is a visual poem that beautifully brings out Epstein’s lyrical imagery. A particularly inspired idea was to wash away all the male characters, which turns this montage into a meditation on the femininity of the sea and on the effect its natural cruelty has on women in particular.