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Documentary on ocean cargo shipping is pure film noir

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
March 05, 2012

While many creative visual artists support our position on the positive impact of globalization, there are some mainstream film-makers taking a contrarian view.

The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.

Noël Burch, film-maker and theoretician of the cinema, and Allan Sekula, experimenter in images, set out to discover in the sea and its symbolism.

Using a range of materials – descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old moviesm – they provide us with an essayistic, visual documentary about the dark side of containerization.

About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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