Online catalogue / Joerg Burger :

Unter Beschlag
AT / 2007
40 min.

Since 1999 the Neapolitan authorities have seized about 50 ships from various international flag states and stored them at San Vincenzo pier.
This is a restricted military area. Only one ship, the Current Vallentta of Malta, has survived the years, having turned into a wreck. One sailor still remains onboard: Marijan Ahel, 56 years old, a Croatian citizen, mechanical engineer. He has lived alone on the ship for seven and one half years.

(Joerg Burger)

"Seized" tells the story of Marijan Ahel, an engineer who for the past seven and a half years has manned a ship in Naples´ harbor which is no longer totally seaworthy. He´s using it, the Current Valetta, as a bargaining chip in a legal battle: Its owner still owes him back pay for a year and a half of work at sea. Ahel must make sure that the ship doesn´t sink, as his only chance of getting his money is to sell the freighter. In that case the claims of the seamen remaining on board would have to be satisfied with the proceeds first.

Joerg Burger is however interested less in the details of the legal dispute than the tasks required for Ahel´s survival and in turn that of the ship: maintenance of the engine, repairs of the hull, obtaining a sufficient supply of fuel. One of the ways he earns money for food and clothing is by doing poorly paid temporary jobs. This rigid work discipline protects him from thoughts about the hopelessness of his situation: As Ahel himself says, his (bare) survival is at stake.

And this bare survival is the main focus of Seized. Burger has employed the figure of a seaman, abandoned by the rest of humanity as well as his good sense, a man who has chosen to stick it out on a ship that is neither seaworthy nor his property, to enrich the political iconography of our time with his expressive image of a life without a stage, without any kind of representation: What will have given these on-board tasks meaning is a decision Ahel will still be waiting for long after the film ends.

(Vrääth Öhner)

Translation: Steve Wilder

A film by:
- Joerg Burger

- Documentary

original language:
- not specified

Available Prints:
- Digital Betacam PAL
- Betacam SP PAL

price: 160 EUR


rental conditions

more on Austrian Independent Film & Video Database:
- Credits
- Festival placements
- Texte und Bilder
- Biographie: Joerg Burger

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