The Oban Times - - LETTERS - AN­GUS MACPHAIL an­gus­macphail@ya­

JUST to keep things var­ied, this week’s piece is a split of­fer­ing of sub­ject mat­ters di­vided be­tween film and mu­sic.

When Mon­sters Call

In con­trast to my last foray into film re­view­ing when my dis­ap­pointed take on the new Whisky Ga­lore film was fea­tured by the Scots­man be­cause of the level to which it slated the sub­ject movie, this is al­to­gether a much more pos­i­tive com­ment.

Watch­ing a film for me is al­ways a risk. The feel­ings evoked by see­ing a good mov­ing pic­ture can be very in­spir­ing, en­er­gis­ing and en­rich­ing. A good story, well told, is one of the age-old learn­ing and leisure tools of mankind and film is a very fine mod­ern-day ve­hi­cle for this an­cient as­pect of hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.

How­ever, when one chooses the wrong film and ex­pec­ta­tions are dashed, you are left feel­ing as if you have been robbed of three hours of your life. Thank­fully, my last film ex­pe­ri­ence was a good one.

When Mon­sters Call was re­leased early this year in the UK, but I missed the cin­ema view­ings so watched it on­line at the week­end.

The film cen­tres round a young boy and his si­mul­ta­ne­ous bat­tles with school bul­lies, a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with his – at first ap­pear­ances - dom­i­neer­ing grand­mother, his es­tranged fa­ther and the ter­mi­nal ill­ness of his mother.

An in­flu­ence of guid­ance and wis­dom comes to him in the form of an an­cient yew tree which has come to life. With three old sto­ries re­lat­ing to con­flict­ing hu­man be­hav­iour along with wise words, the yew tree guides the boy to face his in­ner and sim­i­larly con­flict­ing fears. The film ends with a deeply sad but sat­is­fy­ing feel­ing of ac­cep­tance and clo­sure.

Mor­tal­ity and the com­plex­i­ties and con­flicts of man’s char­ac­ter and be­hav­iour are com­mon themes in an­thro­po­log­i­cal study and this film cap­tures th­ese themes in a very sim­ple and beau­ti­ful way.

I would highly rec­om­mend this film and would also rec­om­mend find­ing and seek­ing guid­ance from our own an­cient yew trees of wis­dom – some of them aren’t even that an­cient!

BOW Fest

Yet again, The Best of the West Fes­ti­val in In­ver­aray de­liv­ered a fine week­end cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing a va­ri­ety of the best food, pro­duce and mu­sic that Ar­gyll has to of­fer. Hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Ar­gyll in the grounds of In­ver­aray Cas­tle, this was their biggest event yet, with three days and nights of rev­el­ling and sam­pling of food and drink. De­spite some of the ques­tion­able do­ings of his an­ces­tors, Torquil Campbell is a very fine host and along with his wife Eleanor leads a great team of fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers who have cre­ated one of the best events of its kind in the coun­try.

We had the plea­sure of fin­ish­ing off the Fri­day night’s en­ter­tain­ment, but the mu­si­cal high­light for me was lis­ten­ing to young Stra­chur band Heron Val­ley who were on be­fore us. This is a band that will be at the top of our mu­sic scene very soon.

Food high­lights were a close call be­tween Loch Fyne oys­ters and The Real MacKay Stovie Com­pany. Un­for­tu­nately no whisky high­lights could be iden­ti­fied as we were all driv­ing, but there was a fine ar­ray to choose from. For those on soft drinks the de­li­cious creamy milk from the Wee Isle Dairy on Gigha was a the per­fect al­ter­na­tive to a dram!

If you didn’t make it this year, get it in the di­ary for next Septem­ber and leave your car at home.

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