I Could Read The Sky

I Could Read The Sky


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Nicola Bruce resurrects the art film with scrupulous credentials and a beautiful score. The nature of the subject requires a particular sensitivity, with the most delicate of movements. All this she achieves.

An old man, now alone in a London bedsit, having spent the better part of his life as a labourer, remembers. Visions of memory, like dream patches, tell his story. Bruce's technique of layering pictures, so that one will fade into, or out of, another, creates an illusion that nostalgia is a river flowing forever through the mind of a man, demanding the audience to take notice, or be swept to sleep. Also, the script is full of poetic Irish language ("Without a past I would have fallen") that swims though the sense of the narrative ("Then I see it, the absense of others, draining the world"), without halting to explain.

Copy picture

The writer and poet, Dermot Healy, plays the old man, with the dexterity of an Abbey Theatre veteran. There are other literary folk in the cast, as well as real actors (Brendan Coyle, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Stephen Rea). There is a sense of occasion, a feeling of community, an understanding of the Irish heart. All things must pass and in their passing, leave wounds. Perhaps, an hour and a half is too long. Despite Bruce's artist's eye, imagination begins to weigh heavy.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
Share this with others on...
I Could Read The Sky packshot
An elderly man considers his past.
Amazon link

Director: Nichola Bruce

Writer: Nichola Bruce, based on the novel by Timothy O'Grady

Starring: Dermot Healy, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Brenden Coyle

Year: 1999

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 1999

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Distant Voices, Still Lives