Thursday, 17 July 2008
Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle
Seachd (also known as The Crimson Snowdrop outside of the United Kingdom) is the first ever Scots Gaelic feature film and what a film it is. The tag line, "The truth is in the story" sums up the movie well. Its hard to explain what the movie is about as there are so many themes running through it. The main relationship is between Aonghas and his grandfather, with whom he goes to stay, along with his sister, Mairi and brother, Donnchadh. The grandfather regails the children with his tales of times past whenever he gets a chance. Aonghas is not enamoured with these fictitious offerings and seeks the truth ... about his parent's death and his grandfather's stories.
The movie is wholly in gaelic and its wonderful to hear the language spoken, but no different from watching a foreign film. Filmed entirely on Skye, the landscape features heavily in the movie, as does history spanning centuries of tales. For those that know the myths, legends and folklore of Scotland, some of the tales will be recognisable; only one having been written especially for the movie - the tale of the crimson snowdrop. Each tale is clearly distinguishable in terms of the flow of the language, the colour scheme and the storytelling, a result of involving several writers, directors and actors. I have to say that I almost wanted the whole movie to be full of the grandfather's stories.
The music is wonderful and the stories are engrossing. One of the main themes is about the importance of keeping culture alive through language - stories, music, etc. and this is clearly spelled out without detracting from the main storyline itself. Its a wonderfully woven piece of film making and with every viewing something new is revealed - it has that kind of depth.
It's a wonderful movie for all ages, though it does carry a PG rating. I had a few quibbles watching this film, but they are insignificant in comparison to the level of enjoyment this film provides.
If you don't speak Gaelic, subtitles are provided in English, Irish and Scots Gaelic on the DVD. Also provided are interviews in both English and Gaelic. As a bonus, the DVD also contains the original short of the story of the Crimson snowdrop - well worth watching.