JDIFF 2012: Dreamtime, Revisited

Dreamtime Revisited

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Irish: Dreamtime, Revisited

Wednesday, 21st February, 6:30pm, IFI


Magical, wondrous, sensual and spiritual, Dreamtime Revisited is an evocative recollection of the life and work of writer, poet and philosopher, John Moriarty. Commissioned as part of Reel Art scheme,this abstract film uses stunning contemporary footage, interviews from his friends and family, audio excerpts from some of his own key talks as well as archive material footage from the IFI itself – and all of this skillfully arranged by directors Julius Ziz and Dónal ÓCéilleachair.

Not your standard documentary, this impressionistic piece has a beautiful flow, with the tempo ranging from soft atmospheric contemplative lulls to energetic bursts of frantic vocal performances. The poignancy and honesty in Moriarty complex compilations are juxtaposed by the warm memories of him told by those he cared for. These ultimately paint a warm and at times conflicting picture of John himself, as well as of the country that inspired him.

Aesthetically this film is a varied feast of epic sweeping views that would make Peter Jackson jealous, along with green hills, crashing waves, delicate flora, all contrasting with fantastic archive footage documenting life in rural communites and old familiar cityscapes. Along with the fantastic ambiance provided by the films soundtrack, this really brings home the layered, dreamlike essence of the film, making it a nostalgic heart-wrenching and at times hilarious piece of cinema.

Honestly, I really didn’t expect to enjoy this film as much as I did. The same could be said for the talk afterwards where Filmbase’s own MD Alan Fitzpatrick spoke with Dreamtime, Revisited’s two directors. Julius Ziz stressed how surprised he was when so few people had heard of John Moriarty’s work. He cited John as a hero of this country and one of the most important poets and mystics of our time. Glad of the opportunity to work on this film, he stated that Dreamtime, Revisited was the perfect introduction for people to his work.

One of the best things about this particular screening was the audience’s warm reception to it, and how one attendee put it perfectly at the Q&A section:

‘I just feel so grateful for having being here. I’ve listened to John on and off over the years… and afterwards I almost wanted a minutes quiet to myself. This was pure magic… and as someone said over there, ‘do it again’ – because there’s enough material there for ten films. You really captured it; his spirit. Whatever you did, you did it well.’

Gemma Creagh

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DREAMTIME REVISITED from donal o ceilleachair on Vimeo.