Independent film makers submit their films and IF4 chooses the best ones and shows them together in a parade of festivals or screenings for groups across the country. I missed the showing earlier last month and went fishing instead that night. Last night apparently was an unscheduled extra showing and I couldn’t pass on it twice.
The films were the typical fishing films. Slow motion shots of rivers, casting, and fish being held after being caught- held towards the camera, eye staring at camera, mouth yawning open and gills flaring. But as expected, I enjoyed many of the moments projected and even cheered for a few of them.
I wonder why I enjoy these films so much, despite the constant use of every cliché imagined. It’s not too complicated. I live through those scenes. I see myself catching those fish. I imagine and wish, the fishermen were me.
The final film took place in Mexico fishing the surf for Rooster Fish. They were fish I’ve never seen, in a place I’ve never been, following methods I’ve never used.
The piece documented the trials of two men pursuing these fish. They looked for a big Rooster. They had early almost-success but then experienced 12-13 days of failure. On their way back to the lodge, on the last day, accepting defeat, they spot a giant rooster in the surf. They cast to it, they hook it, and they land it.
The crowd in the theatre cheered. I clapped. And on that note, the film and the festival ended to smiles all around.
Why did I clap? Why did we cheer? It was a nice fish, yes, but we all recognized the last cast miracle.
No matter how many hours you have fished that day, a last cast catch is always you last hope. Usually “last cast” consists of at least 20 so declared casts. It’s the hope and dream of every caster to catch that monster fish on one of those last casts. Fight it, bring it in, admire it, let it go, and walk off victorious. Fulfilled.
That last film, let me live it from the comfort of a theatre seat. It reminded me that it’s possible. It inspires me to get back out on the water.
And when I’m on the water, I’m happy. As happy as a man can be.