Eye For Film >> Movies >> Vocation (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
As a biographical fragment, a celebration of an extraordinary life, Alice Nelson's film is affectionate, personal and uniquely itself.
She tells the story of an uncle who became a priest, suffered polio, spent time in an iron lung, was paralised all his adult life. "Here at last was his sacrifice," the soft Irish voice of the commentary states. "The fight to stand, the fight to breathe, would go on for 45 years."
And yet he became a missionary and travelled the world, until finally becoming too ill and frail, "like an emaciated rag doll", when he returned home to Ireland to spend the rest of his days, hooked into a breathing machine.
You don't hear him and you don't see him. Nelson shoots the film like a moving still life, sunlight crossing a room, useless legs being strapped into caliphers, the lower part of a body in a wheelchair, the stillness of things, the gentle rhythm of the voice talking of his achievements.
It is a beautifully realised memoir of a remarkable man and a supremely confident film that uses imagination like an artist uses shades of colour to express feeling.Reviewed on: 29 Aug 2003