“The Sands Of Alang” Reviewed by Martin Cox

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The EUGENIO C was launched at Cantieri Riuniti dell’ Adriatico’s Monfalcone shipyard on November 21, 1964. Photo courtesy of Maurizio Eliseo.

I just received my copy of “The Sands Of Alang”, Peter Knego’s latest DVD, and its an experience I highly recommend!

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The former EUGENIO C’s terraced afterdecks undergoing demolition in September of 2005.

Peter braves India’s heat and monsoons along with the complexities of access to the remote beach at Alang, where much of the world’s passenger fleet ends its days, to begin a narrative that looks back into the history, design and service of intriguing and unique midcentury ships.

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BIG RED BOAT II, the former EUGENIO C, and the beach that will eventually consume her.

Peter reconstructs through interviews, contemporary and archival footage and photographs, all that went into their making: the maritime architecture; the shipyards; the furniture and artworks and the artists behind the unique interiors of some of his favourite vessels.

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Riding the pontoon out to BIG RED BOAT II along with the workers in September of 2005.

We get to see, (from the comfort of our monitors — without the heat, the wet, the grime, the rope ladders and the waiting!) the extraordinary and seldom-seen process of dismantling a ship into its raw ingredients.

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EUGENIO C’s once-glorious “Swan’s Neck” bow has been severed.

With clever juxtapositions of his imagery, Peter brings to life from the ruins of its last days on the beach, the meaning, ambiance and history of a ship.

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Rescued treasures: Emanuele Luzzati panels from the EUGENIO C’s dining rooms have been gathered for inspection.

Maritime historians Maurizio Eliseo and Gordon Ghareeb make guest appearances, filling out the astonishing trove of detail and facts contained within this DVD, which is rich with Knego’s erudite and informative narrative.  We are guided through a world few witness first-hand.

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The June 2005 monsoon in Gujarat flooded out roads and aborted a portion of the first trip to the EUGENIO, forcing a return visit in September.

Knego unearths the ephemeral atmosphere of a mid century liner from the wreckage of its present, and like a master archeologist, he reveals the soul of the living ship.

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Peter Knego and the former EUGENIO C in September of 2005.
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Climbing the Jacob’s ladder to visit EXPLORER (ex GENERAL W. P. RICHARDSON, LEILANI, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, EMERALD SEAS, etc.) in June of 2005.
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The half-demolished PRINCES, the former PRINSESSE MARGRETHE of 1968.
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Remnants of RIKY, the former Danish train ferry KONG FREDERIK IX, in September of 2005.

“The Sands Of Alang” is an intelligent, moving portrait of the whole life of a liner and clearly made by someone seriously dedicated to his topic.

The Sands Of Alang trailer on YouTube


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