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Dreamtime, Revisited

Dreamtime, Revisited

Released 12 October 2012
Director(s) Julius Ziz, Dónal Ó Céilleachair

Amanda Carmody, Madeleine Barrett, Chris Moriarty, Des Lally, Eileen Moore
Producer(s) Anú Pictures
Origin Ireland
Running Time 76 minutes
Genre Documentary
Rating TBC

Nice dream.

Dreamtime, Revisited is a quiet, meditative piece of filmmaking that acts as a tribute to the late poet and philosopher John Moriarty. Made by co-directors Julius Ziz and Dónal Ó Céilleachair, it marries recordings of his talks and readings with images of Irish life and landscape to create a picture of a life through snapshots rather than biographical detail.

This means of course that if you know nothing about John Moriarty going into the film, you’ll know little more when you come out of it. What you will probably have gained though is curiosity to look into his career further. Moriarty you see, is tremendously good company; one of those storytellers that Ireland produces so well, equally at home reciting beautiful lyrical poetry as telling an absurd story about a night down the pub with an elderly neighbour. His voice has a deeply soothing quality about it; the lilting musicality of his Kerry accent and the considered yet urgent pace of his oration make for an irresistible combination.

It is visually that the film falls down a little. Ziz and Ó Céilleachair have created a visual montage of landscape and archive footage of Ireland with the intention of creating a dreamlike flow of images. They have indeed been successful but I sometimes found this approach a little repetitive. Interviews with some of Moriarty’s close friends and family occasionally appear to give the film a little ballast but in general I felt that what I saw on the screen wasn’t as interesting as what I heard on the soundtrack.

This leaves me a little unsure about how to react to Dreamtime, Revisited. On the one hand, it has introduced me to the work of John Moriarty but on the other, I found it lacking in visual terms. I know some people will find it wonderful but it’s definitely not for everyone.

- Linda O’Brien