Fettah (Fettah Lamara) is a young Moroccan fisherman, who spends his free time windsurfing. His village is a destination for many Europeans during the summer, looking to take advantage of the perfect surfing conditions. An old friend of Fettah returns one summer with Alexandra (Thekla Reuten), a beautiful woman whom Fettah finds a connection with. When the summer is over, and Alexandra returns home, Fettah begins to feel trapped in his small town, prompting him to take a trip across the ocean with only a backpack, and his windsurfing board.

Director Jan-Willem van Ewijk, who happens to be an experienced windsurfer as well, does a fantastic job of capturing Fettah’s lonely journey across the ocean in Atlantic. The vast landscape of ocean, and the backdrop of a setting sun, is incredibly beautiful. Fettah Lamara does an outstanding job of sharing his emotion with the audience, making sure that these silent moments still carry an emotional kick, but when the film returns to land, things become a little flat.

The emotional weight that the scenes of Fettah on the ocean carry, never translate to the moments where he’s surrounded by friends or family. His journey may be fraught with danger, passion, and tension, but his reasons for going aren’t nearly as strong. His leaving seems impulsive, but understandable, and the rather open ending shows that it’s not the destination that matters, but the trip that takes you there.

Is Atlantic essential festival viewing?

This is a film where very little really happens, but at the same time, it has a lot to say. It’s certainly a beautiful film, but the very relaxed, and quiet nature of the story may turn some viewers off.

Atlantic screening times

Atlantic trailer

Atlantic gallery