benh zeitlin: glory at sea.

The naming system for storms has always struck me as odd. We don’t humanize the names of earthquakes, or tornadoes, or avalanches, or famines, or any other force of nature or human evil that occasionally ravage and remind us of how helpless we really are. Hurricanes and cyclones are different. Perhaps because they’re so predictable now, so much technology to heed their arrival. Perhaps we decided, like so many things, to name it a certain way in an attempt to forget what it really is. Such pretty names for such violent upheavals: Camille. Celia. Isabel.

And then one day came Katrina…


Like a modern day Atlantis, in 2005 a city was swallowed by the sea. But it won’t be the violence of the storm that history will note the most. The flood will not be remembered as the disaster, but as the precursor to the real cataclysm: the failure of a government which created a catastrophe worse than the storm itself. More brutal in that it perpetuated death instead of fighting it and more evil because it was created at the hands of humans. The storm must be excused as a random act of sea and sky. The men and women who failed to respond cannot be excused. And so the world watched as one of the biggest cities in one of the richest countries in the world quickly drowned and then slowly rotted.

And so what becomes of those who are left? Benh Zeitlin’s stunning surrealist film “Glory At Sea” shows how the forces that tear us to pieces aren’t as strong as the human need to find our way home and reunite with everything we’d been denied. Told piercingly beautifully, it lets us know that no matter how brutal, nothing good ever really ends. And no one is truly alone.

Via No Fat Clips!


  1. […] Glory at Sea Directed by Benh ZeitlinIt’s about 25 minutes long, so give it time to load. But it’s quite worth the wait. I’m still watching it, but so far so good (or brilliant) . I like how it starts. a different perspective. And beautifully crafted. Read about from shapeandcolour […]

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