Films are known as ‘the movies’, and cinematographic movement stirs us as deeply as the movement of tides. There is a curious similarity between the act of watching a film, plunging into its moving pictures and sounds, and that of watching the sea. So it doesn’t take such a stretch of the imagination to perceive in cinema an ocean “forever starting over”, as the poet Paul Valery put it.
The sea and films have always been drawn together.
In 1896, the Lumière brothers shot the unloading of a boat in Algiers (Déchargement au port), Le Port de la Joliette in 1897, Le Port de Naples in 1898 ; while around the same time, Georges Méliés was filming the Panorama of The Havre Taken From a Boat, The Pier at Tréport During a Storm, and Panorama of the Port at La Rochelle.
Fiction films and documentaries have, it could be said, been baptised with the same salt water.
There is a passion in film for the ocean and its depths, its shores, beaches and ports, that has never wavered. Today you need only mention the sea or sailors for countless titles to surface in anybody’s ‘cinemato-marine’ memory.