Ben is a fisherman on Long Island, out one day trying to catch his prized large striped bass.
He’s staked out his favorite spot on the beach, but his idyllic day is interrupted by Jorge, who is out trying to catch “porgies,” a smaller, more abundant fish.
The two men immediately jostle for the spot, and what starts out as a beautiful, ideal day by the ocean turns into a conflict over territory — one that erupts in unexpectedly dark ways.
With skilled, emotionally truthful performances and clear, concise direction, this short drama explores tensions of both social and racial, taking an everyday situation and getting to the beliefs, ideologies and emotions undergirding these small skirmishes.
The film, though, never descends into simplistic sloganeering or flattens the characters into stereotypes. It offers a compassionate understanding of both sides of the conflict, and never loses sight of the complexity of these matters.
With its clarity and emotional intelligence, “Porgies and Bass” offers an opportunity for viewers to understand and approach social conflict — and a hint at how to expand and grow to move beyond them.