As the fishing boat “Elizabeth” chugs into port, an old fisherman (Dave Crowe) wipes the tears from his eyes as he watches from the docks. He pulls out a battered, wrinkled photograph of a woman and a young child… and we’re soon transported back in time to when his younger self (Jeremy Denzingler) owned the boat. Not enough fish, we learn, combined with too much alcohol conspired to cost the fisherman not only his boat, but his family as well.
It’s amazing, as director Douglas N. Burns proves with his wistful and melancholy short film “A Fisherman’s Lament,” just how minimalist a short film can be and still be effective. Told almost exclusively without dialogue, the film relies on beautiful photography, clever editing, and solid, expressive performances to tell its simple yet poignant tale of a life gone awry. Sad though this fisherman’s lament may be, “A Fisherman’s Lament” makes for a very elegant and moving film.