Seven scripts to the short film Frisian Midsummer

The film is short and silent. Still it tells in a minimal way (at least) seven intricately intertwined stories:

1. The story of the frisian landscape

We had the naive idea of contrasting modern industry architecture against original pristine moor and marshes. However we failed finding natural pristine landscape. Of the once endless wilderniss of floating fen, only one tiny piece is left there: the Sehestedter Moor. From the dike at Sehestedt we see at the horizon, in the midst of the floating fen's panorama, across the Jade Bight, the power station and the container terminal at Wilhelmshaven. Otherwise, the historical development can be reconstructed from old paintings. Little has been left as it was. Sure there are still areas in the Wadden Sea that really could not be enclosed behind dikes yet, plus some narrow strips of outland and bird-rich salt marshes. This remaining mosaic of pieces is a park of national importance. And as the park is so important, many motorized men come to see it...

2. The story of frisian life-style

The painting by Hans Bartels displays a Frisian daughter around 1900 among the Fishermens' wives. The tide is out, a boat lies on the wadden mudflat, around it a mass of heads and bodies crowding for the expected catch. In the foreground, women kneel on the muddy beach collecting freshly slaughtered fish in big wooden baskets. Daughter Frisia in those days is a graceful coarse beauty. Her blue shirt is chaved into pieces by wooden loads and hempen ropes. For the painter, she stands still a long long time with the heavy basked on her back, the frisian look towards the far horizon. What are a hundred years of human history? What are equal opporunities, vinyl knitwear, mobility? What are the Pill, children's allowance, old people's homes? We are the machine's children, more than ever before. We are heated by machines, fed by machines, bundled off, informed, entertained and dazzled.

3. The story of fishery

In the time when Hans Bartels painted the fishermens' wives, most fishermen did not reach old age. But fishery was as old as humankind already then. Today, motorization and heavy gear have thoroughly exploited the treasures of the sea and the marsh alike. Growth has come to and end. The Fishermen are left without fish and without work, many of their boats useless and wrecked. Fish is scarce not only in the North Sea. Most edible species of the world ocean are down to only about ten percent of their original biomass. Shrinking tendency. The conflict is typical for Greater Frisia, but it is also typical for all other coastal countries, be it Lofoten or Chile or West Africa. There remains a hopeless competition of fewer and fewer fishermen using larger and larger ships to catch smaller and smaller juvenile fish. Will now fish cages, shrimp pools, mussel ropes and seaweed tanks provide healthy food? How big can the new sea-breeding business grow?

4. A maritime overtaking manoeuvre

Three big vessels approach the mouth of Elbe. The last in the row is newer, bigger and faster; on the next image she has already passed the second. Shipping requires adaptation of water straits in depth, width, course and shape. Hardly any river anymore flows its own natural way. The Greater Frisian seaports from Antwerp to Hamburg double their throughput every 15 years. If they continue doubling every 15 years, they might well grow together to one giant megaport covering almost the entire continental North Sea coast within one single human life span. Still all these doublings will not give much work to the Frisians, as the work is done by machines. Our machinery is both hope and threat. Also the machinery of war has outgrown any historical measure during the previous century. It defends the Oil and takes its share. Oil is, in a sense, the blood of the machine. The pipes are its veins, and the Refinery is something like heart and stomach.

5. Love and breeding

The asian sailors see the beautiful daughters of Frisia but shall not go off board to get lost. The can remains closed, the fish within, the mussels get nothing to swallow. Life at the coast is hard. The process of mixing however goes on between the men and women of all peoples that can so easily now travel the globe. Immigrants and half-breeds may have a harder life among the old-settled natives. But they have the most exiting stories. As easily travelling as humans are also mussels and algae, generally all animals, plants, fungi, bakteria and viruses, in part as freight and in part as ballast. Global mixing of life and ecosystems through civilisation's forceful transportation system has its own history. Like the history of accelerated growth of the machinery, the story of planetary biological unification has not yet come to its end.

6. Allegory on global change

Mother Earth and Daughter Frisia wrestle in the wadden mud. The end is still open. Instead of the frisian mud, the wrestling could as well have been filmed in the Niger delta or the Valley of the Yellow River. In very much the same way as the historical frisian moor became an industry state, brasil's forest is now exploited, at the same time with the open area of the shelf seas. Drilling platforms, shooting areas, wind power and sea breeding... the material organs of civilization will soon cover not only the Wadden sea but the entire North Sea. No joke. Competition forces us into ever bigger achievements. Growth of the gear has thrown the entire Earth into a new geological age. Future energy supply will eventually have to become independent from fossils like coal, oil, and gas, as the greenhouse experts have found out. But the growth of the entire apparatus goes on, be it with nuclear power or wind power or solar power or otherwise. Backstop-techonology, as economists call it. Still to be invented.

7. Nice view

Mutter Erde walks barefoot on asphalt and basalt, out into the wide blue midsummer night (view towards Langeoog Island). Millions of tiny crabs bubble in the wadden mud. The hard dike of East Bense is a clear signal: Stop the ramified archetypical shapes of the wadden landscape. In the dark a blink of fire from the world-embracing supermachine. President Grubitzsch wrote once that only if Economy and Science should succeed in closing ranks, then our region could exploit its full developmental potential. What is that potential? Where does the voyage go? Is the Creation fully exploited soon? What is worth more: all we gain or all we sacrifice? What choice do we have? The film team is thankful to friends, sponsors and helpers for hospitality, images, music and technique, patience and many helping hands.

Georg Hooss