Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Space Between Words: Further Thoughts on Garage

Last Friday Garage was released in the UK, with a premier at the Curzon Soho and a Question & Answer session with Lenny Abrahamson, Mark O'Halloran and Anne-Marie Duff. I went down for it and was looking forward to seeing the film again. The questions afterwards were interesting to compare with what had been asked in the Dublin Q&A session I went to. It also provided the opportunity to hear Mark, Lenny, and Ann-Marie Duff talk about their own experiences with the characters. While the Irish audience was concerned and responded to the death of the small town, the English audience was far more struck by the language of the fim, its rhythms and cadences. I think that was an interesting thing to see and confirms in my mind that its spareness and its linguistic purity makes it universal. This idea of linguistic purity, of a spareness that highlights the simplest of words as being the most profound was something that struck me upon a second viewing. Josie has a way of internalizing the language of others that is just fascinating. And his way of saying 'Now' was noted at the Q&A. It is a very Irish thing. It can mean, 'I agree', or 'I don't agree', or a host of other possibilities somewhere in between. The way that Josie's language can fill with significance, however, renders that now into something more elevated. It seems to create a temporality around him where a past and a future have collapsed into a continuous present of observation and reaction. His friendship with David is wonderfully expressed in a scene in which Josie comments on the colour of the sky and David looks up, agrees, and describes it as 'beautiful'. Later, in the bar, Josie asks the barman did he see the evening sky, and is told that there was no time to be looking out at the sky. Josie says that it was beautiful. The lyric sensibilities of the barman do not stretch to sharing the moment and so Josie simply shares it with us. David has given him a vocabulary to describe what he had already noticed. Josie, who is training David in, showing him how to run the garage, is being trained by David in how to describe the world around him.

There's much more to say. The physicality of Josie struck me again, and the way in which this adds to his reality, to his thereness, his facticity, if that makes sense. His face is as expressive as a stream in which each character watches both himself and a reflection of the world pass by. Everyone sees themselves, or a fleeting image of themselves, in Josie. His otherness is us.

Go to see this film. You will not be sorry.


Jane Holland said...

I'm always sorry when I go to see films. Though I rather enjoyed HP and the Order of the Phoenix. And the first Back to the Future, c. 1985-6. Other than that, I'm not a cinema person. Though I love films. Thomas Crowne Affair is a good choice on your list of fav. films, btw. But which version?

Good to find your blog. I'm not a big Chaucer fan - SGGK's more my bag from that period - but I wish you well with him.

May I also recommend The Expulsion of the Blatant Beast as an interesting medievalist's blog?

Miglior acque said...

Thank you very much for this. I would not really describe myself as a cinema person either, though I do enjoy a good film. I know what you mean about being disappointed though. That's the way of it. There are gems out there. Do not despair.

Well few could argue with the greatness of SGGK. What are you views on Simon Armitage and Bernard O'Donoghue's new translations?

And thanks for the Beast blog, very nice. I shall chase up some of your work now!


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