Seven places. The ordinary activities of everyday life. And visible through that, the two great stories that define us. Childhood to parenthood. Faraway village to sprawling metropolis. The timeless cycle, and our journey over the past ten thousand years. Without language, without actors. Stunning cinematography and an unforgettable soundtrack. In seven days, our story.
Through everyday life
over seven days,
the two great stories
that define us
Cinema and the beauty of ordinary everyday life
On 28 December 1895, in a room in the basement of the Grand Café in the centre of Paris, two brothers from Lyon give the first public screening to a paying audience of 10 short films shot and projected with their newly patented Cinématographe. Filmed and directed by Louis Lumière and with Auguste in the frame at times, these single-shot films of under one minute each show scenes from ordinary daily life: workers leaving the Lumière factory at the end of the day, a train arriving at a station, a baby being fed, children jumping off a wooden pier into the ocean — unremarkable human activities made remarkable for having been captured in moving images.
Moscow, Kyiv, Odesa
Moscow, Kyiv, Odesa
In the late 1920s a Soviet-era filmmaker and his cinematographer brother film scenes from everyday life in Moscow, Kyiv and Odesa. Released in 1929, Dziga Vertov’s silent black-and-white Man with a Movie Camera depicts a wide range of human activities. Waking up and washing, work, sports and play. Underground mining, the tending of factory machines. Marriage, divorce, a birth, a mourner in a cemetery, vast crowds relaxing on a beach, street scenes thronging with traffic and people. From biplanes and steam locomotives to a manually operated telephone switchboard, an abacus and a hand-cranked cash register, through 67 minutes of moving images the film paints a picture of urban civilisation at a given stage of technological development, and the human lives within it.
In mid-2013 a filmmaker in Cape Town starts capturing scenes from everyday life in the picturesque coastal settings of his hometown. Almost ninety years after Vertov, and with a static, locked-off camera in the style of the Lumières, over many years Victor van Aswegen continues to film the human activities he finds at the locations — no actors, no script, no dialogue. What emerges from the footage, as was the case for his predecessors, is a vast and colourful mosaic of humanity, across various strata of society, in different stages of life — and a snapshot of civilisation, now at its early-21st-century level of technological development.
Coast, the 100-minute film cut by the director from the footage gathered over the years, covers seven days, from first light to nightfall, each day in a different setting and each revolving around a different theme, for the viewer to discover. Over the seven days, and through the ordinary activities of daily life, two powerful stories, crafted in the shooting and editing, unfold in parallel: the timeless cycle of childhood to parenthood, and our journey over the last ten thousand years from tiny village to sprawling city. In contrast to the silent black and white of the earlier films, Coast has a rich colour palette and a lively soundtrack made up of the sounds recorded on location combined with an extraordinary selection of music. Coast, the latest instalment in the filmmaking practice started by the Lumières more than 125 years ago, is scheduled for release in 2024.