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Islanders on celluloid

by hidden europe

Picture above: The Scottish island of Barra, where the classic 1949 Ealing comedy Whisky Galore! was filmed (photo © Luca Quadrio / dreamstime.com).


mapping the special appeal that remote island communities have held for filmmakers: Whisky Galore!, Stromboli and more

Remote communities have always exerted a special appeal for filmmakers. Elsewhere in this issue of hidden europe, we extol the virtues of Roberto Rossellini's film Stromboli - Terra di dio. That Italian film has much in common with Werner Kissling's much shorter film on Eriskay, described in the preceding article. The inhabitants of both islands are the cast of the film, though in the case of Stromboli, a young Ingrid Bergman is a very conspicuous and exotic addition to the castlist. And both films focus on the everyday activities that feature in the lives of the islanders. In Rossellini's film, the tuna fishing scenes are among the most memorable ever captured on celluloid. In Kissling's cinematic essay on Eriskay, the traditional craft of weaving lends an almost ritualistic structure to the picture.

Werner Kissling's efforts on Eriskay were perhaps influenced by Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran which was shown in Britain just before Kissling set off for the Hebrides. That powerfully evocative film about life on the Irish Aran Islands makes huge play on shark fishing by harpoon.

The Scottish island of St Kilda had featured in a number of short films even prior to Kissling's work in the Hebrides.

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