Dead Slow Ahead

Dead Slow Ahead

A film by Mauro Herce | 2015 | 74 minutes

An enormous shipping freighter drifts aimlessly across the desolate waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Beneath the grinding, brutal machinery and bruised ocean skies, the ship’s anonymous crew toil tirelessly to keep the ship on course. They could be lost, men adrift, or perhaps the last vestiges of a doomed species. Gorgeously photographed in rich, spectral hues, DEAD SLOW AHEAD begins as a soothing and hypnotic nautical journey, leaving the soft Gulf port lights of New Orleans behind in the deep blackness of night. Filmmaker Mauro Herce (cinematographer on many acclaimed films like the Cannes winner MIMOSAS) embeds himself with the mostly Filipino crew of the freighter, named the Fair Lady, as it crosses the vast and empty ocean en route to various ports around the world. At times resembling a dystopian science-fiction film, DEAD SLOW AHEAD is an immersive and extraordinary documentary.


“A transcendent sci-fi documentary. Herce and his crew have accomplished an invaluable feat of cinematic empathy and vision. And unlike even the most prophetic science fiction, you leave the theater knowing that the Fair Lady is still out in the ocean somewhere, hauling its grain or coal or iPhones to ports of call we’ll never seen in our lifetimes.”
– The Verge

“The most beautiful film I saw. Herce’s riveting and eerie visual style in DEAD SLOW AHEAD successfully captures the monumentality of the bulker—and man’s smallness within it—as well the diminutiveness of humankind’s pretension and enterprise within nature’s immense watery arena.”
– Cineaste

“Herce captures an astonishing array of natural wonders and crafts an extra-sensory tableaux of near-surrealist imagery with a steady hand and acute eye for the beauty of his surroundings.”
– Brooklyn Magazine