One of my favorite films, Oyster Farmer, reappeared on my netflix instant queue last night. It is an Australian production that imdb lists correctly as comedy, drama and romance. I had watched it a couple of times over the past few years and then, through ones of those movie rights issues that I don't understand, it disappeared. Last night, looking for something to watch, I found it had come back.
I am not a film critic so I can't really judge the film other to say I enjoy it. It is a gentle story that takes place on a gently curving river in Australia where oysters are farmed. There is a simple crime using only a frozen shellfish for a weapon and a fruit roll for a disguise. There are a few romances, a little anger and a lot of humor. All of it set against the backdrop of farming oysters.
I sometimes think that if I could wake up one day with a different career it would be as an oyster farmer. What better way to make a living than to raise oysters that are good to eat and, at the same time, good for the environment? No, it is not easy work. And just like any other kind of farming it is subject to elements - weather being the most obvious one - that can ruin your crop. But but the idea of heading out in the morning to fill bushel baskets full oysters appeals to me.
The oyster farming I see in the film is different from what I have seen on the eastern shore. In the Australian film, made on the Hawkesbury River, they appear to raise the oysters on long pieces of wood set in the water, beating the wood with hammers to knock the mature oysters free.
On Chesapeake Bay I've seen oysters raised in cages roughly one foot deep and four feet square by four feet square. Those cages, set a few inches of the bottom of rivers and bays, become living reefs filled with not only oysters but also crabs, fish, shrimp, eels and just about anything else you could image.
Working on the water, producing tasty plump oysters and helping enrich the environment - what's not to like about that?
I am glad the film is back on the streaming video. It is one of those films I can watch once or twice a year and still find something new in it. For me there is more than just one kind of romance there.