Marinella A. Guansing
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Romance, comedy and drama comes together in this British film entitled “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” The film features Dr. Alfred Jones, a renowned fisheries specialist, who got pulled by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, an investment consultant, into a quite absurd project of bringing wild salmons from British waters to the not so fish friendly Middle East deserts – a project being financed by a wealthy Sheik Muhammed in hopes of bringing his community together by irrigating his lands and introducing the sport of salmon fishing to his people. This was further pushed by Patricia Maxwell, head publicity officer of the Prime Minister, seeing it as an opportunity for a feel good story to get Anglo-Yemeni relations back on track after a bloody war incident. By this time, Fred was forced to be part of the what he thought was a plainly ridiculous project – his boss, Bernard, blackmailed him into resigning or taking the Salmon project with double the salary.
Thus, Fred and Harriet went on with the project and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish, oh and science. And in the process, they became close, and closer. In the end, with a few breakdowns and a lot of moving words from the Sheikh, the project went from fundamentally unfeasible to unachievable to theoretically possible to successful to sabotaged to will-we-start-again to there’s-still-hope and, as the movie ends, to starting-over-again. Which is also quite like how Fred and Harriet’s love story went.
Who knew that a movie can be about faith and not look too religious? Who would’ve thought that a film with a title as weird as “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” contains a most romantic, out-of-the-ordinary love story? The film just goes to show that sometimes we have to defy the ordinary and take a leap of faith, even if science says no. Though they may have made it seem too easy in the movie, with the limitless financial resources and such authority as to be able to finance a hydro-engineering team from China to go all the way to the Middle East to construct a dam, get a thousand salmon, load them up in great big oxygen-controlled holding tanks who would have to carry them all the way up to the dams, alive, to have them released in the rivers just so that the Sheik and his people could hook them up with fishing rods to their heart’s content. I don’t think anyone in real life is as rich and naïve as the Sheikh to bankroll a 50-million-pound fishing project. Or otherwise as brilliant and as full of faith to come up with the idea and actually push it.
Nevertheless, I believe there are times when we should actually defer to miracles, take a chance, grab an opportunity, even at the smallest probability of success. Who knows maybe it’s as theoretically possible as a manned mission to mars or salmon fishing in the Yemen or Fred and Harriet ending up together.