In Dublin’s fair city, he collects all the shitty that carthorses leave behind, “one of those whose fruitless lives have saved Ireland at any rate from the modern worship of success,” as said “almost surely by Yeats although ascribed to the editor”.
End of the horses. Rise of the American girl. Max Ernst regretted the beasts’ long martyrdom. Cf. Tati’s jour de fête.
What it has to say it mainly says in Gil Taylor’s color cinematography, at one point intersecting Suschitzky’s for Joseph Strick (Ulysses). Trinity scholars, Beckett’s Murphy, cf. Sirk’s Captain Lightfoot or for that matter Losey’s Accident. Intersection with De Sica (Miracle in Milan, The Gold of Naples). Splendid drunk scene. The foundry, compare Mr. Jack Yeats on the subject of Dubliners. “Fuck off!” Renoir’s plumbing (On Purge BéBé). Huston’s The Misfits for Spencer Dock. Lindsay Anderson’s The White Bus, Tati’s Play Time.
Vincent Canby of the New York Times, “this self-perpetuating Irish milieu, whose reputed charm has always eluded me.” TV Guide, “offbeat story... lovely Dublin locations”. Hal Erickson (Rovi) could not follow the plot, “Quackser leaves Dublin” etc. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “plotless”.
Coming Out of the Ice
Waris Hussein’s masterpiece is a tale of the gulag closely related to Wrede’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and a personal account.
Bare winter, huts, rags, endurance more Shackletonian than can be described, eating rats on a spit (and you have to catch them yourself).
Francesca Annis is the second of two women met upon the prisoner’s release, hardly recognizable as a gymnast in the dour days of Stalinist terror. Bernice Stegers is the other, a lady barber who reduces John Savage’s mane and beard to civilized habit.
The finale is pure Kafka. Two men snatch the fellow from home and hearth, toss him into the frozen North and eventually send his wife and child to join him, or look the other way.
The scrupulosity and richness of the direction are in its adherence to a sense of the time like Sartre’s novels, for example, meeting the fresh air of Finnish locations to give a very exact surface for the camera, viewed unsentimentally but with the greatest attention to the bare facts as sufficiently expressive under the circumstances.