DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: The Lark's View
Special Presentation of the Second Annual Irish American Movie Hooley
"THE LARK'S VIEW"-- 3 STARS
Director Aodh Ó Coileáin's documentary, the Gaelic-language/English-subtitled “Fis na Fuiseoige” or “The Lark’s View,” beautiful renders together the poetry of ancient words with the topographical language of a unique land all its own. The documentary recently had its Chicago premiere as part of the second annual Irish American Movie Hooley. Patrons and consumers of natural beauty and non-fiction artistry will greatly appreciate this film's imagery and its marriage of culture and environment.
Ireland is a proud country where a pagan history has been blended with Christianity for two millennia. Mythology has merged with scripture and history has absorbed legend. “The Lark’s View” is a documentary reflecting the current and lost traditions on the century anniversary of the significant Easter Rising conflict of 1916.
Coileain’s film presents prominent national poets quoting and discussing the oral tradition that has been passed on for centuries. Many of them feel like important stewards for maintaining the old ways that have been slipping away and evolving to modern society the last hundred years. Much of it spoken in the native Gaelic tongue, the poems speak to the naturalistic and humanistic bond between the people of Ireland and their land. Their passages, which celebrate good times and bad, speak with an earthly affection supported by a strong and passionate resolve to weather the many conflicts over the years that have threatened their culture.
“The Lark’s Way” beautifies these readings with striking cinematography. High aerial shots capture the endless natural vistas of the rugged Emerald Isle. Those gigantic views are matched by close-up natural photography, adding further delicate detail to every fiber, leaf, and stone of natural beauty. As the film progresses, the forests and hills give way to cities and society, in both the main country and Northern Ireland, showing more of the human side that occupies this place.
The combination of the oral history and the sumptuous imagery successfully achieves the documentary’s goal of cementing a indomitable land with its unbreakable people. Part history lesson and part love letter, “The Lark’s View” will make you want to buy a plane ticket across the Atlantic and a tome of poetry with shades of green.
LESSON #1: THE CULTURAL BOND BETWEEN A LAND AND ITS PEOPLE-- Geographically, an island creates boundaries of isolation for a culture. Ireland had thousands of years to define itself on its own, creating history and internal connections. Once Ireland's world bled to its neighbors and visitors, little bits of its culture became integrated everywhere, but the core never left, nor will it ever depart, the island nation. Every human needs a home and Ireland has given life-giving roots to millions.
LESSON #2: CONFLICTS CANNOT ERASE A HOMELAND-- Through many means, ranging from urban sprawl, forms of pollution, and on to the scars of warfare, people have weathered their habitats and changed what the Earth created beneath their feet. Matching Lesson #1's bond, any such land may change in contour and use because of man, but it can never be erased. "The Lark's View" reflects on conflicts and how the land of Ireland was always there in the end. Its visual celebrate the touched and untouched aspects of that environment.