Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle
LÓn fhýrinn na sge˛il. The truth is in the story.
Seachd, pronounced 'Shack', is Scotland's first - or second, no one seems quite sure - Gaelic language film. It means 'seven', and again, I'm not quite sure if this is in reference to the age that Aonghas (Angus) is orphaned in a mountaineering accident (Padruig Moireasdan, the lad who plays him is 11), or to something else (apparently there were to be seven stories within the film, but that's no longer the case.)
In any case, his Grandfather (Aonghas Padruig Caimbeul) tries to comfort the boy and his siblings with stories of the old ways, when Scotland was a land blessed and cursed with magical charms, potions and poisons, and the world was a far different place. (Or was it?)
This grave but entrancing fable pulls off the difficult balancing act required to make us as involved in the storyteller and his rapt listeners as in the fearsome and fantastic folk tales he spins.
In one tale, a young suitor concocts a lip balm for his beloved, but the gift poisons her and he must travel far and wide for a cure. In another, an orphaned daughter is rescued from English tyrants by a traveling magician, and she learns charms that will avenge her murdered family.
Angry and confused, Aonhgas hangs on the old man's every word, but he also hates him for it. It's only much later in life that he will look back and ponder the true meaning of these yarns. The stories within the story prove you don't need megabuck special effects to open eyes to wonder and beauty - especially if you have the good fortune to be shooting on the Isle of Skye, 'The Winged Isle'. (I have a strong suspicion that Michael Powell, who filmed on the Isle of Mull and in the Shetlands, would have loved this movie.)
A reformed Wall Street banker, director Simon Miller collaborated with a host of Gaelic writers, artists, musicians and amateur thespians to pull off this sturdy first feature about the power of storytelling. As for 'The Inaccessible Pinnacle', Miller and his crew had to climb this mountain four times during the shoot, with the camera and their equipment on their backs.