Behind the mountains in the distance, the dawn sun can just barely cast light on the plains. The grass is brown, knee-height, motionless. With no life other than chirping birds, you’d think it’s the last place anyone would want to be. That’s when Ismail pulls up on a motorcycle and disembarks.
In Loose Fish, young adult Ismail attempts to make money so he can leave his port town in Morocco and move to the city. We’re guided through his daily routine—waking atop bedsheets on the docks, going out to sea and assisting fishermen—by grainy, 70s-style camera shots that make scenes look HD but with sand grains peppered on the lens. This viewer thoroughly enjoyed the camera style for the visual depth it adds to the short film, particularly how it highlights Ismail’s puzzled scowls.
Along with seeing Ismail work for the fishermen, we also watch him interact with boys his age. Together, they walk down thin, orange-lit streets at night. The frequent shrieks of seagulls and occasional barking dog is replaced by lively conversations from townsfolk and Ismail and his friends.
While not a mystery or detective story, to understand the plot of Loose Fish requires focusing on Ismail’s actions and the few words he says. Ismail isn’t shy, but he isn’t talkative either. You might miss details of Ismail’s plan to runaway if you don’t remember certain scenes or listen to his explanations closely.
If you are looking for a slice of life short film with a retro style and a peek at Moroccan culture, you’ll love Loose Fish.
Run time: 15 Minutes
Directors: Pato Martinez and Francisco Canton
Translation: Rkia Chakaoui
Producer: Anonymous Content
Music: Nicolas Teubal
Film Editing: Alejo Santos
About the Author: Jamal H. Goodwin Jr.
Grammar, prose style, fiction, nonfiction: Jamal does it all. When he's not jogging or reading Daredevil, he's writing stories with a focus on character and elegant language. He’s written reviews for Philadelphia Stories and has fiction published by Spillwords press. Check out a sample of his work at thefictionwriter.blog website.