In the early ‘70s, founding member of the monthly Australian surf magazine Tracks Albert Falzon began filming off the North Coast of New South Wales, Hawaii, and Indonesia. He set out to make a film “that was a reflection of the spirit of surfing at the time” and the end result, Morning of the Earth, proved its worth as a vital document of surf culture and a powerful nature film. In the spirit of summer, we present this rarely seen surf epic, which was recently remastered by Origins Archival in Los Angeles.
The sea swells in Morning of the Earth, often accompanied by sun-beat surfers riding its waves in states of pure bliss. You get the sense the film is totally in tune with its environment, mirroring the unceasing rise and fall of waves striking the seashore. Accompanied by the sweet psychedelic tunes of G. Wayne Thomas — whose soundtrack became a gold record in Australia — Morning of the Earth begins to channel the energy of films that similarly captured their respective countercultures in previous years, as though Easy Rider for the open seas.
“We’re all trapped in our lives — either personal or professional and what happens when you show people a great piece of art or film or music that deals with the inner aspects of your life, like what I think Morning of the Earth did; it showed the beauty of surfing but underneath it, it was about the soul of the planet.” ALBERT FALZON
Falzon was inspired by New American Cinema pioneer Jonas Mekas. While editing in a garage with fellow Australian experimental filmmaker Albie Thoms, Thoms asked Falzon what his thoughts were on a quote by Mekas in which he stated: “We are the measure of all things and the beauty of our creation, of our art is proportional to the beauty of ourselves, of our souls.” Falzon felt the quote perfectly encapsulated what he was trying to convey with Morning of the Earth. “It was a reflection of the mind-set of the day — and pretty much still holds true,” he said. “We looked at surfing as an art form rather than a sport and wanted to capture the beauty and essence of that.”
Albert “Alby” Falzon grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. After serving in the army, Falzon worked for the longest-running Australian surf publication, Surfing World Magazine, and in 1970 co-founded his own surf magazine Tracks — also known as “the surfer’s bible” — with John Witzig and David Elfick. After releasing Morning of the Earth in 1972, Falzon worked on Crystal Voyager, a loose biography about fellow surfer-filmmaker George Greenough (the inventor of the modern surfboard fin) and Same as it Ever Was, a musical tour through the waterways of Kashmir featuring music by Brian Eno and Harold Budd. He is currently collecting his photography into a series of books.
Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer. To learn more about Morning of the Earth and the film’s recent remaster, visit morningoftheearth.com.