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Portraits is a collection of fifteen films about nineteen European seaports as seen by different cameramen in the course of the past 100 years. Put together they tell a story of profound meta- morphosis. Not only have ports and ships changed, but society and life as a whole went through a dazzling evolution.

The film brings this past century of change back to life again.

Portraits of different seaports at different moments in history reconstruct this story of change. The individual stories of the Belgian seaports, Marseilles, Barcelona  Oslo, Drogheda, Amsterdam, Calais, Stockholm, Trieste, Hamburg, Malta, Bremen  Rotterdam and London are placed in a wider perspective.