ABOUT THE FILM

When tragedy at sea claims a young seaman's life, the whole Urk fleet unites in a recovery mission, and Urkers mourn the loss of another son. While fishermen ply remote seas for weeks at a time, their families wait anxiously for their safe return. As one fisherman says, "I never leave home without saying goodbye, because if you lose your life at sea, for your mother it wouldn't be nice that she didn't get to say goodbye." Against the stunning backdrop of Urk and the tempestuous North Sea, amazingly candid first-person reflections are woven into a beautiful tapestry of pride, faith, fatalism--
and loss.

With rare and remarkable cinematography, the first full-length documentary about Urk captures a community on the brink of change. High-tech computers plot ships' courses in the treacherous North Sea and track bidding in the fish auction on Urk. At the same time, centuries-old practices persist: The ships shut down at sea for the Sabbath. Fishermen wear the elaborate gold earring that identifies them as being from Urk. Sounds of the Fisher Choir still stir the soul; but so does the blare of pop music. The struggle to maintain traditions is fought against increased mechanization, catch restrictions, foreign competition, and uncontrollable natural forces. The life of a fisherman is both hard and dangerous, yet many Urkers cannot imagine doing anything else.