From July to December 1952, Anita Conti went with 60 men to the banks of Newfoundland to observe and witness the “great profession” of cod fishing. She was asked by the Central Office of Scientific Fisheries to draw up fishing maps and to study the salinity of the sea. Upon her return, she published her first book “Racleurs d’Océans” (Viking Award 1954).
Through this film, she pays tribute to the work of these men, these “convicts of the sea” and gives an account of their place through the vision of a free woman with a gaze filled with humility. The man or “the other” is not anonymous because she knows the name and function of each person on board. The value of this film lies in the fact that it bears witness to a moment in time of a vanished profession that Anita Conti approaches through various ethnographic testimonies of scientific, historical, technical and artistic value.
Anita Conti is the only woman to have witnessed cod fishing in Newfoundland.