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!
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.