a cinematic portrait
SILENCE OF THE TIDES is a film for cinema about the largest tidal wetland in the world, The Wadden Sea.
SILENCE OF THE TIDES is a cinematic portrait that is driven by the continuous ‘breathing’ of the Wadden, an area anchored amongst continuous tensions against a backdrop of light, mist, wind, water and land.
The film observes the inhaling and exhaling of the tides along with the repeating cycles and contrasts of nature, light, sound and mankind.
The film evokes the question of whether the Wadden Islands are a part of water or part of the land, but above all it gives shape and scope to the unique living existence of the Wadden Sea and its inhabitants.
The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world. It’s one of the last remaining large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed.
It’s an annual breeding and wintering ground for 12 to 15 million birds and home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise.
The site covers the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area, the German Wadden Sea National Park and most of the Danish Wadden maritime conservation area, all in a stretch of about 500 kilometers long and on average 20 kilometers wide.
The 43 inhabited and uninhabited Wadden islands together occupy more than 1000 square kilome- ters and are home to around 80,000 people. The biggest islands are the Dutch Texel, the German Sylt and the Danish Rømø.
SILENCE OF THE TIDES is a cinematic portrait for cinema about the largest tidal wetland in the world, The Wadden Sea.
The driving force of the film is the breathing of the Wadden. The inhaling and exhaling of the tides. It’s a film of cycles involving the rolling life of flora and fauna, and it’s a film of contrast involving the four seasons, life and death, storm and silence, the masses and the individual. All set against a backdrop of sky, water, wind, mist and constantly changing light.
The film plays witness to the ongoing relationship between man and nature. On one hand it’s harmo- nious and respectful in which inhabitants peacefully earn their living and visitors enjoy its beauty.
On the other hand, man and the fragile Wadden have conflicting interests. The area is disturbed by fossil fuel explorations, troublesome geese are shot, and exercising military jets roar over the land- scape tearing the silence apart. Man discharges his waste oil and leaves his torn fishing nets in the sea. Yet as a counterbalance against this human activity, we see the migration of millions of birds and habitats flourishing for seals, shrimps, flounder fish and young mussels.
We follow beachcombers who scour the coastline throughout the seasons, a seal on his way to Danish waters with a satellite transmitter shown on a monitor. We meet a lighthouse keeper who reports the daily tidal changes and the postman for the German Halligen Islands. We go onboard a cable laying vessel cruising from Denmark to the Netherlands. We join a bird watcher as she follows the Oyster- catchers of Oland. We watch an F-16 pilot in his fighter jet and a harrier hawk hunting for its prey.
From fixed camera positions we observe a salt marsh through the seasons and experience its changing colors. We follow little lambs being born and enjoying their short-lived freedom between the common redshanks, lapwings and other meadow birds.
SILENCE OF THE TIDES is a film without voice-over, interviews or testimonials. There are only images, natural sounds and associative editing. SILENCE OF THE TIDES is a film that breathes in and out and gives the audience the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.