A Turning Tide with Loic Jourdain
Filmed over eight years, A Turning Tide in the Life of Man follows John O’Brien, a small-scale fisherman from the island of Inis Bó Finne, as he embarks on a journey to save his community by navigating the corridors of Brussels and the intricacies of a reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.
The film documents the threats faced by small-scale fishermen and coastal communities throughout Europe today: the complexity of distant political decision-making and its impact on vulnerable communities. The years leading up to Ireland’s strike for freedom, the1916 Rising, saw a growing idealisation of the lives led by farmers and fishermen of the west of Ireland. People sought hope and an alternative to the ugliness of the industrial development model and the centralisation that came with it. Along the western seaboard and the islands, communities still hold knowledge of a world in balance. In contrast to the factory ships whose methods present a threat to the very life and health of our oceans, small scale fishermen have long respected the rhythms of the seasons and ensured that fish stocks are allowed to recover. Here, fishing has been a way of life and is one thread in a complex weave that makes up the living heritage of this country. John ‘O Brien, and fishermen like him wish to pass on their knowledge and skills to their children, and the culture that this way of life supports. Ireland has been good to me, since my arrival on the Tim Severin boat replica called the St Eflam in 1999, (17 years ago), coming from Brittany in France. I have long been fascinated with the life of the Islanders and the sea. Through my films I share a vivid experience of the rich maritime culture of this country. My most recent lm “A turning tide in the life of man” underlines a very emotive and deep issue among the fishermen of Ireland’s Islands and coastal regions – many of them Gaelic speaking: the loss of their right to fish as their ancestors have done for generations. The threatened loss of Ireland’s indigenous and sustainable fishing tradition has undermined the cultural life of our coastal peoples. Living by the sea is not just about the fishing, it is a way of life. Songs, stories and ancient traditions are also sustained through this lifestyle. As future generations are forced to emigrate or move to the cities, a way of life is being lost. Ireland’s people have been farmers and fishermen for generations, living in harmony with the needs of the land, the environment. Today as we collectively face issues such as that of Climate Change, I believe that we also need to start looking to how our ancestors lived and honour our rich maritime heritage.
Born in France in 1971, Loïc Jourdain decided to settle in Donegal in 2003 while shooting his first film in Ireland “Tory Island, after the prophecy”. He set up his production company Lugh Films and his award-winning documentary A Turning Tide in the Life of Man (2015) is part of a world-wide campaign to save Ireland’s maritime culture and restore the fishing rights for Ireland’s coastal communities. Follow the lm on Twitter @Bealstoirme. New episodes from the filming of A Turning Tide are regularly updated on the campaign facebook page. www.a-turning-tide-in-the-life-of-man- lm.eu
“If I choose to tell this story through the “little window”, through the eyes of one man, one family and one community, it is because it is essential for the public to identify themselves with John’s case. Through him, it is possible to truly and deeply understand the need for survival, the reason for the fight, the responsibility he carries in defence of ancient traditions and local knowledge in order to keep his own dignity and to be an example for his children.” Loic Jourdain