The Image You Missed
Impact | Documentaries
"A film between Donal Foreman and Arthur MacCaig," reads the directorial credit for this personal inquiry, undertaken by Foreman, into the life of MacCaig—the father he rarely saw. A leftist known for his documentaries about Irish nationalist politics and class struggle around the world, MacCaig died in 2008 at the age of 60. Foreman gained access to his father’s archive, and he intersperses archival and contemporary images from different sources; it soon becomes apparent that the image MacCaig missed was that of his son growing up. From this place of poetic melancholy, Foreman weaves together a fascinating look back at an era when "The Troubles" dominated headlines around the world. He also conjures up a heady atmosphere of political debate, showing how the Irish Republican cause was intimately tied to hippie/socialist politics. MacCaig’s personal failure to live up to his own definition of documentary art—having people account for their lives—lends the film another layer, one of deep, resonating irony.
"Working as his own editor, Foreman interpolates numerous excerpts from his father’s globetrotting oeuvre (10 cinematographers are credited), all of which was uncompromisingly dedicated to chronicling and celebrating class struggles. These brief clips buzz with MacCaig’s angry fervour and pay tribute to his [skill] at capturing the atmosphere of the places and times in front of his lenses…"—Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
Grand Prize, Genre and Avant-Garde, BAFICI 18