Blue Black Permanent

A first feature from veteran avant-garde film-maker Tait, a septuagenarian Orcadian. A work of extraordinary emotion, the film takes the form of a remembrance, with troubled Edinburgh photographer Barbara (Imrie) attempting to tell her boyfriend (Shepherd) the story - sketched in flashback - of her mother Greta (Stevenson), who died in the sea off Orkney when Barbara was nine, some 40 years earlier, leaving her guilty and confused. This is about the struggle to give shape and meaning to life, and it's rare to see a film that attempts to do this so directly. The presiding spirit (and imagery) is that of the sea: its intimations of mystery, overwhelming elemental and impersonal forces, rhythm and eventual balm. But Tait also seems miraculously to invest the ordinary (scenes are simply and unostentatiously shot) with equal mystery, cutting to a close-up of a pebble beach, not a face, at moments of revelation. Even the awkwardness of the present-day scenes with Imrie and Shepherd, as they wander in their car or through the streets, she talking, he listening, seems surreal. A film that strikes deep chords.

Release details

Duration: 86 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Margaret Tait
Screenwriter: Margaret Tait
Cast: Celia Imrie
Jack Shepherd
Gerda Stevenson
James Fleet
Sean Scanlan
Hilary Maclean
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