Crystal Voyager

The 4 minute 12 second clip of the documentary Crystal Voyager (1975) we were shown was certainly an interesting piece of film to try and dissect. I was at first quite confused watching the segment Paul linked us as it showed men working in a junk yard and I had to double check that he had described this as a surfing documentary.

However the shots of the men working in the junk yard soon link up and give meaning to the next scene which shows the protagonist of the film as he explains how he scrounges through junk yards to find lead to use on his boat.

The shots throughout the junk yard I found to be in the style of the poetic mode of documentary, there was no dialogue during this sequence, only music. After having a look at a few other clips from Crystal Voyager on YouTube it became apparent that music was a big feature in the documentary. The soundtrack was written specifically for the film, and to me it gave off a real 70’s vibe that was perfect for this era of film making.  Also if you listen to the lyrics during the sequence in the junk yard it speaks of hard work in the blistering sun, which to me evokes imagery of hard manual labour – which is exactly what the sequence is showing us visually as well.

I think this sequence works well to convey the hard work involved in the protagonists labour on his boat. Once the sequence of the protagonist working on his boat kicks in we are shown a more expositional mode of documentary with the voice over narration provided to us. The voice over is layered over images of the man on his boat as he explains to us the process of modifying his vessel and building different and better parts.

I think the process of these shots worked well together, having a poetic sequence showing us the hard labour in the junk yard, not explaining anything to us but just showing us these men at work, then flowing into an expositional sequence with our protagonist putting that hard work into context and showing us the outcome of his labour and his scrounging – his boat, works extremely well. I think the director might have chosen to put the scenes this way in order to show us what is going on and then contextualise it afterwards. Using this process we engage more with the visual aspect of what’s going on and then focus on how it fits in with everything.

I think this a successful and engaging way to present a film to your audience.


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