ALL THE SHIPS AT SEA
Dir. Dan Sallitt - viewed 6-05-04 on dvd
No Grade 2003

I have yet to see a Maurice Pialat film (to whom this film is dedicated) and so I plead ignorance to any stylistic references to that filmmaker by Sallitt.  However, I think it is safe to read this film as being very much in the vein of Eric Rohmerís Morality Tales from the late sixties/early seventies; in which the protagonist is thrown into a potential crisis of their own morality or religious beliefs and forced to make a tough decision about which is the right course.  Unlike Rohmer, Sallitt never really forces his story to any breaking point of a major decision but leaves it to much smaller movements (not comforting the sister when she is crying or deciding to take a walk alone) and it builds in a way that feels authentic to the characters. 

The film is dialogue heavy and luckily the dialogue is very strong, portraying characters through their choice of language; Evelyn talks like a professor (often subtly condescending) and her motherís use of profanity somehow provides all the character information we need to her character and why her daughters chose to turn to spirituality rather than family.  There are some very nice touches throughout that liven up the characters, like when Virginia remembering a landmark on the road as the halfway point to the cottage.  The film was shot on DV and given to static takes, except for a crucial moment of unmotivated camera movement that signals a change in Evelynís character and indeed might signify the most crucial moment of the film.

No grade given because I know Dan Sallitt, and I with-hold grades for friends and acquaintances.  His website can be found
here.