“When they grow big, they leave the shells they are in. And then, the shell they’ve left behind … a smaller crab will find it and it will become its home.”
Twelve-year-old Reyboy lives an idyllic childhood in an isolated fishing village where people catch their share and share their catch. But by summer's end, Reyboy will have to leave to study in the city. Until then he makes every swim, meal and starry sky count, as the seconds slip away. Filmmaker Venice Atienza and her subject share a special familiarity in conversations that translate into poetry, sprinkled over stunning sunsets and beach bonfires. Imagining a world without greed, pollution and selfishness, Last Days at Sea reflects Reyboy's innocent perspective and immerses the viewer in the richness, beauty and joy of home—a place that lives inside us all, as something both real and intangible. This precious record of how we take pieces of the past wherever we go triggers memories like Proust's madeleines, with Atienza's biko and Reyboy's solar system of stones as successors. For Reyboy, leaving home "is like being wounded and not feeling the pain," but we feel his pain.
2021 Berlinale Official Selection
“Last Days at Sea” is a deeply melancholic, at times rather sad documentary about change, the end of childhood and loss. Venice Atienza tells a story defined by the moments and experiences of a young boy and the people he lives with, showing a world and a culture facing extinction which gives her feature quite an emotional impact and an intense beauty.” – Asian Movie Plus
About the filmmaker
Venice Atienza (1989) is a Filipino documentarist whose curiosity is observing how life transformations are carried out through everyday mundane actions. To create a space for author driven documentaries, she co-founded Svemirko Film and Audiovisual Art Productions with Taiwanese Director and Producer, Fan WU.