September 4, 2016
Dead Slow Ahead
(Dir. Mauro Herce, 2015)
Co-presented by Cinefamily!
611 N. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
A unique aesthetic object, Spanish director Mauro Herce’s directorial debut Dead Slow Ahead plays at once like a vocational ethnography and an experiential view of industrial advancement. Filmed on a commercial freighter off the coasts of Ukraine and New Orleans, the film situates the viewer, without context, directly in the bowels of the ship’s titanic hull, with clanking machinery, whirring turbines, and swells of oceanic furor enveloping the senses as we barrel forward in the grip of unforgiving conditions. Herce captures an astonishing array of natural wonders and crafts an extra-sensory tableaux of near-surrealist imagery with a steady hand and acute eye for the beauty of his surroundings. With its prismatic range of primary colors, aural ambiance, and disorienting spatial arrangements, Dead Slow Ahead constructs an immense formal infrastructure through which to conceive of the sheer physicality of life aboard the freighter.
~ Join us for a post-screening reception on Cinefamily's back patio.
Herce has sculpted an aesthetically aberrant documentary that, while grounded in the vicissitudes of uneasy labour, effectively partakes of science fiction. Herce renders the fathomable into something utterly strange, teasing an intrinsically outré quality from objects or scenarios that have become fixed by routine perception.
- Jay Kuehner, Cinema Scope
[Herce] approaches his milieu less like a documentarian sniffing out stories than a scientist carefully calibrating the parameters of his environment. The images have a stately, interstellar quality, like cautiously distant views of an alien planet visited for the first time.
- Carson Lund, Slant Magazine
In Dead Slow Ahead, the sound is like another visual layer over the image itself–– built with care and precision to create a powerful viewing experience. There is really nothing like it around in cinema at the moment.
- Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
Herce began his filmmaking career as a cinematographer; and his riveting and eerie visual style in Dead Slow Ahead successfully captures the monumentality of the bulker—and man’s smallness within it—as well the diminutiveness of humankind’s pretension and enterprise within nature’s immense watery arena.
- Dennis West, Cineaste
(Available to download after screening date)