A Man There Was ★★★★

A sailor whose wife and child died after he was imprisoned during the Napoleanic wars gets his chance at revenge when the same Englishman who had heartlessly sent him to prison is shipwrecked near his home. The sailor can let the Englishman and his family drown, but he looks at the man’s little girl, softens, and saves them.

This simple story is filmed with great style and visual beauty among the rugged islands off the southern coast of Norway. The anguished sailor lives by the sea; the powerful surges of the waves reflect his inner torments.

Victor Sjostrom starred in and directed this filmic version of a 1862 poem by playwright Henrik Ibsen.

Seen at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, 2017.