Pints, Pounds & Pilgrims
(Barlieb-Wallace, 2001)

This is an extremely difficult video to review. It is hard to know who is the potential viewer. It comes across as a 20-minute insert into a news magazine or daytime television show and as such it is fine.

I love theatre and drama in particular and I looked forward to seeing this short film about the American production of an Irish play from those angles. Unfortunately, I found that the fragments of drama were precisely that -- fragments -- and the process of "blocking" and line learning does not exactly make for a riveting film.

The documentary nature of the piece is OK but suffers from an affliction of so many filmmakers -- they love switching from colour to monochrome for no apparent reason. In addition the linear storyline appeared to be erratic.

The arts festival concerned is important but is one of the minor festivals of the cycle and the people interviewed sounded rehearsed. In particular I find when an opinion of a piece of theatre includes the line "it gave us a lot of food for thought and I must think about it" or words to that effect, they are less than enthusiastic and would be best left out of the finished product.

The appearance of a man who knew the father of the writer of play concerned and his comments on the chance meeting with the group in a van sounded of very deep Irish serendipity -- contrived -- and did nothing for my enjoyment of the video.

I compliment the production team on their work on the play and taking the time to film their progress but I wonder still about what audience or outlet it was intended for.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 1 September 2001