Terminal Communication


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Terminal Communication
"Genuinely amusing."

This is an amusing little film, occasionally provoking genuine laughter, but it somehow seems lacking in a way that is somewhat hard to define. This is CCTV footage of a junction at Rosslare Harbour in Ireland's County Wexford, and its director Michael Fortune was commissioned to make this film by the County. It's hard to tell which part of the council was responsible; while it's well presented, soundtracked by a jaunty accordian version of The Humour Of Altan it could be a product of the traffic department.

The junction is a triumph of bad road design, at first glance from the camera's lofty vantage point as clear as can be. As the film progresses, however, and motorist after motorist is baffled by the five lanes and giant white arrows it starts to seem less and less so. As a found thing, it's a treasure. Careful cutting has condensed a day's worth of automotive confusion into a few minutes of fun, but as a film it falls short. It has much in common with an early evening clip show, the kind that offer a reward for viewer submissions and have a segment for humourous vegetables or the antics of domestic animals.

Copy picture

Like much of EIFF 2008's Black Box Shorts programme it might play better outwith the context of a cinema. In a waiting room, or more pointedly as part of a planning application, it would be freed from the expectations of the form. It's never entirely clear where the line falls between 'film' and 'video art', but Terminal Communication would seem to be the latter. That's not to say that it's a bad work, it is genuinely amusing, but it doesn't quite work.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2008
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Exploration of a triumph of bad road design.

Director: Michael Fortune

Year: 2008

Runtime: 3 minutes

Country: Ireland


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