Far and Away

Topics: Camera, Film, Irish Spring Pages: 3 (1189 words) Published: July 20, 2005
Far and Away fades in with a slow fly-over shot of a crashing Atlantic Ocean on a partly sunny day, off the coast of what could not be mistaken for anywhere but Ireland. The wide-angled overhead continues, and the film title emerges as the camera lifts up and over the craggy cliffs and shoreline of rural Ireland; our sense of place reinforced by a backing of cheery Celtic flute music. The opening credits continue to roll as the camera glides over a lush green, hilly landscape, accented by late afternoon silhouettes of the partial cloud cover, and perhaps best described by Carolyn James in her review as "picturesque in the manner of an Irish Spring soap commercial". Gradually, what we assume to be a late 19th century Irish village comes into view, characterized by a handful of rudimentary stone buildings, narrow carriage roads, and stone walls. The camera view switches to brief shot of the street level in the village, the music replaced by the bustle of the everyday activities of the townspeople, before taking us into the local pub. It should be noted here that from street level, this village does not much resemble the romantic vision of the same village provided by the aerial shot. Even in such a short shot, the village appears more urban than it probably should, and if not for the natural light, would not differ greatly from the scenes of urban Boston later in the film. It is in the pub that we first meet Joseph's father (Joe) and a friend (McGuire) who appear to be perpetuating stereotypes by sharing a drink (or two) in the middle of the day and singing a favourite drinking refrain before being summoned to the street by a local to protest the arrival of a rent collecting protestant landlord. The camera scrambles to follow the protest out into the street as the villagers yell and throw debris at the landlord's carriage and horses. Here the early comedic groundwork of the film is set as the scene essentially stops to allow Joe to blurt out a semi-drunken...
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