I Could Read the Sky
Time Out saysTimothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke's photo-novel I Could Read the Sky juxtaposed words and images, landscape and interiority, memory and loss to evoke the Irish emigrant experience. This adaptation imposes sound and movement on the mix: the burr of Irish writer Healy's voice; an eclectic soundtrack that ebbs and flows around the images; gauzy layers and transitions of film textures and fragments. The narrator is an old Irish exile in a Kentish Town bedsit, lying back and listening as the memories come crowding in. In no particular order, he revisits his childhood in the West of Ireland, his family diaspora, friends and pub society, romance, marriage and widower-hood. Hard toil is the one constant, be it in potato fields, abattoirs, construction sites and on the streets, sweeping and busking. At last he faces the moment of retirement, wracked but unbroken, clear-minded but still yearning. As testimony, the film is unimpeachable; as art cinema, it's not always technically equal to its ambitions; but in its modesty there's a fluid, fleeting grace.