Director Benh Zeitlin’s Glory At Sea is an award-winning short film from 2008 set in a post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana. It’s a fantastical story of a community coming together, drawing on their spirit, hope and determined faith (their own faith rather than the restrictive faith of the church) to aim for a goal that seemingly is unattainable. Featuring local and little-known actors, Jake (Geremy Jasper) is a man deposited from the sea into the arms of a barely-functioning community who are mourning the loss of their loved ones to the recent storm. Jake is determined to build a raft and return to sea in order to save his lover, Tess (Meggy Tucker), one of the many souls condemned and trapped on the seabed. Jake refuses to believe the community’s preacher when he tells his remaining congregation that their loved ones have been taken by the sea for a reason. It is this refusal to accept this that leads Jake on his quest to save Tess. Gradually, the rest of the community join Jake in building his boat, hopeful that they too can save their loved ones.
Benh Zeitlin’s visually arresting film is complemented by an equally striking score composed by the director himself in collaboration with fellow-composer Dan Romer. Centred around a small ensemble of musicians, Zeitlin and Romer’s score features mainly strings (plucked and bowed) with additional colours coming from carefully placed piano, brass ensemble and additional instrumentation. The score has a strong emphasis on rhythm particularly with the use of string-ensemble ostinato figures. The choice of instrumentation, musical style and close miking all add to produce a very memorable – almost hypnotic – listening experience (even though the score has a running time of barely 20 minutes). Read the rest of this entry »