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Yum Wrap – Irregular musings on film, art and media

Béal Feirste, Northern Ireland September 22nd 2023 – Come Home Journal #32

A reckoning of the journey (turas) to tour Dancing Shadows in Ireland, a retrospective of my film works as part of the Come Home project.

“This is all you need in life: a computer, a camera, and a cat”.

Agnès Varda

In my baggage I have a computer, three cameras and no cat. I have loved cats in my life; Lancelot (Lance) a ginger ball of fury, Maximilian (Max) a black and white ball of latent ferocity. But its dogs I live for. Since my darling Julius died, and little Spot meet his maker, I waited thirteen years to learn the lessons they taught me about forgiveness. Then Betty arrived and nothing has been the same. She has issues. I’m a better fur-mumma for it all.

Agnès Varda though loves cats, and I love her for it. A filmmaker, photographer and creator, her films are handmade, every frame, every cut, every thing. She starts making films in the 50s when she is about 26 years of age. Her final film is 2019 when she is 90, she dies later that year. Always a maker, she subscribed to auteur theory and called her method of filmmaking “cinécriture” (“cinematic writing” or “writing on film”).

She said “I’m not at all a theoretician of feminism. I did all that—my photos, my craft, my film, my life—on my terms, my own terms, and not to do it like a man.” A practical feminist then. And endlessly inspiring. I have not seen all her films, but they are on my list, along with a few more experimental ones that are difficult to chase down.

Wandering the city of Béal Feirste (Belfast), I take off at stroll pace to see a film at Queen’s Film Theatre. It’s a new release and I buy the last ticket. While in line I talk with Agnès, but she’s very one dimensional, unlike her films.

The film I see is called ‘Ballywalter‘. A painfully honest film. I laugh and cry and throw my hands over my eyes. Sensing a pattern? It’s the story of two lost people in pain who stand beside each other for a moment then move onto living. It’s a raw story of suicide in the way of the Irish – where a cut to the hand is traumatic but a drunken death is comedy. Walking back to my hotel, now in speed mode, I see one of the shoot locations. How extraordinary. I turn to tell someone and realise its a sweet moment I must carry to myself. Still smiling.



IMAGE CREDIT: Streets of Belfast by Erin M McCuskey

Image journal Collection – Ireland –  Flickr Album – Album – Belfast


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