Rough Transitions: Our Review of ‘Usedom : A Clear View of the Sea’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - August 13, 2021
Rough Transitions: Our Review of ‘Usedom : A Clear View of the Sea’

Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea is an interactive documentary that takes the viewer through a look at present day life on the island of Usedom while recalling its layered past. Usedom is a beautiful island in the Baltic Sea with a rich history. In the early 1880’s Usedom was a luxurious destination point for folks from Berlin. The island had many seaside resorts in Bansin, Heringsdorf, Ahlbeck and Swinemunde. In 1945, Germany and Poland divided up Usedom. The eastern part now belongs to Poland and the western part belongs to Germany. 

Heringsdorf native Heinz Brinkmann directed Usedom, and it is clearly a documentary that he made with passion and love for his home. The documentary is also a look at how the places we love change and continually evolve. Brinkmann is certainly passionate about telling the story of Usedom, as he also created a previous documentary about Usedom called Usedom: Life on a German Island that came out in 1992.

We can look at Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea as a continuation of the unfolding story of the island that many love. It provides a glimpse at what has changed over the past 20 plus years. Brinkmann uses archival footage from the 1992 documentary in Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea to show the differences between the Usedom of the 90’s and present day. Brinkmann’s love for Usedom shines through in the way in which he visually presents the island in the film. Usedom looks like a beautiful island paradise, a wonderful getaway spot for tourists. Brinkmann succeeds in visually showing Usedom as a great vacation destination with a truly interesting history. 

Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea is less successful in its execution of tone and balance of the narrative. Brinkmann brings in various local subjects to tell the current story of Usedom. And they discuss how the island is currently changing. His subjects include an organic farmer, a local historian, a hotel manager, the mayor of Seebad Heringsdorf and many more. The transitions between these different subjects perspectives make the tonal shifts a bit jarring and disjointed. The transitions could have been smoother and more cohesively presented.

These interviews also intersperse a lot of historical information. It is understandable that Brinkmann wanted to give a fully comprehensive picture of the variety of people living in Usedom. But the combination of the various different perspectives and historical information can feel somewhat like information overload. This hour and a half documentary covers a lot of ground. With a sharper focus of the main narrative, Usedom: A Clear View of the Sea could have been more effective in its overall presentation. 

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Originally from Thunder Bay, Shayne is a Toronto based Artist/Singer-Songwriter. Whether it be an epic film, an action-packed television show, or a soulful music album, he simply loves art and entertainment. Shayne is a member of the Songwriters Association of Canada, Canadian Federation of Musicians, ACTRA (AABP Member), and a Humber College Music Degree graduate. You can check out Shayne’s music on various music streaming platforms. www.shaynestolz.com
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