Peter Hutton drew on his years of experience as a merchant seaman to create this large-scale, compressed epic, voted the best avant-garde film of the past decade in a 2011 Film Comment poll. Shot in a series of steady, meticulously composed takes, At Sea follows a massive container ship from its construction in South Korea to its lifetime out on the water to its final dismantling in Bangladesh. Taken as a wordless critique of modern global capitalism, an elegiac reflection on the passing of time, or an exercise in pure sensory immersion, the film is an overwhelming experience, in keeping with its epigraph from Joseph Conrad: A man who is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea…
Skagafjördur. Peter Hutton, 2004, USA; 28m
Hutton’s 2004 short, filmed on the northern Icelandic coast, is a loving tribute to the filmmaker’s favorite nature photographers and landscape painters: a beautifully shot study of reflections and mirages, jagged mountaintops and wisps of smoke, thick horizontal strips of cloud and faint, vertical shafts of light.