Another valentine’s day has come and again I was inspired to dream through you. I dream about mist on the islands and violent weather. I dream about the triumph of people without money over the rich and powerful. I dream of bull headed, know it all women like myself who finally realize what they really want, not what they are supposed to want. I dream of curses and whirlpools.
Someday I will visit the Isle of Mull, perhaps tonight in my sleep. Someday I will hear Gaelic spoken again. Tonight I will make due with a dvd and a jar of Nutella.
“I Know Where I’m Going”, or IKWIG if you are looking for the series of clips on Youtube is the greatest of the great films of Powell and Pressburger. I’m also partial to “The 49th Parallel” but this is Valentines day. IKWIG is a film about love of a place, of a culture and of a people for each other. I dare you to hate it. It was one of Martin Scorsese’s favorite films. Sure it’s quaint. It has a dream sequence with plaid hills , singing wheels, and a man with a hat that smokes. There are no animatronics or computer generated graphics.
The boat in the real whirlpool had a real man in it, although not the movie star. The most clever trick in it was amazingly low tech. The film’s star could not go to the Isle of Mull because he was in a theatre production so most of the outdoor shots are shot far away using a double. Let’s not even mention the magic of the director’s mistress having the best role!
The main love affair is frustrating and furious. There are no weak characters. Picture the elementary school age Petula Clark stealing the scene as a very serious young person in jodhpurs and spectacles. She reported she was so nervous on the set she did not dare to pee and so wet the jodhpurs and spent her lunch break trying to dry them out in time for her scene. Oh the romance of film!
If you like to time travel to a place and period where the modern and the ancient collide, then join me in a film about love and foolishness. Here is one of my favorite parts.