DEARGDHÚIL || 2015, Ireland || Documentary || Directed by – Paula Kehoe / Written by – Louis de Paor / Running time: 60 mins.
Dheargdhuil: Anatomy of Passion is a documentary about one of the most respected poets, writers and scholars of the Irish language, Mhaire Mhac an Tsaoi. For many, this will be an introduction to her works. Yet, the documentary seems to embrace its niche audience rather than reach out to a wider one. It’s possible that some of the aspects relating to the historical and cultural backdrop of Ireland will remain trivial to many who are not already familiar with it.
What is certain is that Paula Kehoe is respectful of the poetry in particular, and the creative way in which it is brought to the screen, accompanied by avant-guard dancing and meticulously selected music, is visually enriching despite some unhappy instances of excesses, such as the odd subtitling style. The attention given to the poetry also shines a light on the distinctive musicality of the Irish language.
While the mood of the film is widely solemn and introspective, the inclusion of Mhaire Mhac an Tsaoi herself, as a bright 90-year-old woman, adds an interesting direct insight on her passion and life experiences that influenced her works, which is tributed as being quite daring, particularly for its representation of some delicate feminist issues and for having a distinctive type of sexual charge. – 3/5