Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Andrew Robertson's film review of Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle
Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle

Seachd is a love letter to the Gaelic (pronounced Ga-lick) community and the extras are just as heartfelt and all-embracing. The commentary track is a real gem, featuring director Simon Miller and Aonghas Padraig Caimbuel (Grandad). Since Caimbuel is a storyteller and poet by trade his observations are engaging and story-like in themselves, while Dennis – overspilling with boyish enthusiasm – makes the perfect counterpoint. A wide-ranging commentary, the pair of them discuss everything from the Gaelic heritage to the myths surrounding the foxglove and the ever-present threat of the Scottish midge on Skye, while still finding time to talk about how the film was shot and to marvel at the “insane” fact that there have only ever been three feature films in Gaelic.

The commentary is available in English and in Gaelic (5.1 and 2.0), although there are no subtitles for it. I assume this is down to space on the disc, which is chockfull thanks to subtitles for the main feature, not only in Gaelic and English but also in Irish Gaelic and Welsh.

Copy picture

The rest of the extras have a cheerfully homespun feel, but what they lack in polish they make up for in spirit. There are brief interviews with the cast and crew. The young stars reveal their favourite moments in the film (Padruig Moireasdan (Angus) favours the bit where an islander “whacks the Spaniard on the head”, while Crisden Domhnallach (Donnchadh) fondly recalls shooting the film, saying, “the good thing about it was you didn’t get homework”).

What comes across strongly in all of the interviews is a staunch love of the Gaelic language and culture – as Caimbuel says in his bi-lingual interview, “each single word that’s spoken in Gaelic is progress”, proceeding to quote Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time as you’ll never have heard it before. The interviews seem to have been shot in someone’s living room on the day of the Edinburgh Film Festival premiere as you can occasionally hear people entering and leaving the room, but this adds an air of anticipation to the whole proceedings.

Also included on the disc are a series of Gaelic interviews – sadly, for those of us who are not among the 60,000 or so Gaelic speakers on the planet, they aren’t subtitled, but I presume they cover similar ground to those given in English.

Several deleted scenes are featured, again without subtitles, although this is hardly necessary since it is easy to get the gist and to see where they would have fallen in the film. The package is rounded out by footage from the Edinburgh Film Festival premiere ceilidh, full of life and unexpected interjections from the crowd that will entertain those who weren’t there and bring back fond memories for those who, like me, were. On a personal note, I have to confess I was somewhat surprised to see that I make a cameo appearance in the extras. They do say the camera adds 10 pounds… well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Unexpected critics aside, this is a lovingly put together set of extras which, if a little rough around the edges, are no less charming for that.

Reviewed on: 28 Feb 2008
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Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle packshot
A young man visiting his dying grandfather finds himself once again entangled in the stories he was told as a child.
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Product Code: SODA061

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Gaelic (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0) and English (2.0)

Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, premiere ceilidh footage, English interviews, Gaelic interviews, trailer reel

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