Capitaine Achab

Director: Philippe Ramos

Sweden-France • 2007 • 97 minutes

While prequels are all the rage at the moment, it still takes some courage to tackle one of literature’s best-loved characters. With Capitaine Achab, writer-director Philippe Ramos vividly imagines the formative years of the protagonist of Herman Melville’s classic Moby-Dick. Told in five chapters by five different narrators, the film tells the story from Ahab’s birth to his death at sea. Capitaine Achab, which won Best Director and a FIPRESCI award at the Locarno Film Festival last year, uses an eclectic musical score and a painterly sense of visual composition, giving Ahab the biography he was denied in the novel. The film manages to engage with the essential mystery of the character as it offers up a vision of America that is unforgettable.

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