Six Months at Sea in the Merchant Marine

When I first started watching Martin Machado’s video, Six Months At Sea In The Merchant Marine, I was a little surprised at the narration. The pacing and timing of Machado’s voice was very plain and very slow… which threw me off a bit, at first. But after a minute, I found the style of his storytelling to be really hypnotic (and quite personable).

His film documents his six-month journey aboard a container ship, travelling between New York and Singapore via the Suze Canal. Combining both still image and video, the documentary covers a wide range of topics: the various jobs on board the ship, the precautions taken for fear of pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and the constant comfort/problem of monotony.

Hearing Machado talk about his experience feels a little like a close friend, asking you to lean in. There’s this intimacy about watching this video, that makes you feel like you’re getting a glimpse into another world. And with me knowing little to nothing about the merchant marine, this was a really fascinating doc to watch.

With it being 22 minutes overall, I wasn’t able to watch the entire thing at a sitting. But if you start watching, there’s a strong chance you won’t be able to turn away. This documentary reminded me a lot of one of my all-time favorite docs: Alone in the Wilderness.

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