The fish market and the fish

Hubert Fichte, Leonore Mau
Germany | original

This film shows pic­tures of daily life in the Por­tuguese fish­ing vil­lage Ses­im­bra, south of Lisbon, during Salazar’s dic­ta­tor­ship in 1964. Mau’s pho­tographs of fish dis­played in geo­met­ric pat­terns and Fichte’s spoken text com­ple­ment one anoth­er. The latter seems like notes of an inter­view with a typ­i­cal young fish­er­man who goes out to sea at night, lives in a two-room apart­ment with his par­ents and sib­lings, per­haps has a fiancée he can’t afford to marry, and has to serve his mil­i­tary duty soon or has just returned from serv­ing in Angola. Yes, some people are tor­tured. Yes, there are spies every­where. These two remarks offset the oth­er­wise harm­less descrip­tions. The list of all the names of fish that enable the vil­lage to sur­vive in col­lec­tive pover­ty is long.