Source: British Council Film http://film.britishcouncil.org/miraculous-tales
Director: Daniel Vernon
Miraculous Tales is directed by Daniel Vernon and provides us some insight into Irish traditions. Mickey McGuigan, a 73 year old farmer turned writer, is the narrator and is working on a book in order to preserve the Irish traditions in this modern world that are sweeping them away. He lives in a small town that is made up of an aging population, most of whom are farmers going through a rough patch. When in need, the people turn to pagan and Christian based healers.
The pagan cures, which are quick, easy, and probably the first ones used, include curing ringworm with spit and healing a colicky baby with a string. The Christian healing methods are a bit more time consuming. For Catholics, Father Conlan is a popular choice and has a 6 month wait. John Purcell is a Protestant Evangelist who converted from Catholicism. He is a fire and brimstone preacher who believes his faith and prayers can heal and save the world as it helped him to recover from alcoholism. The cinematography is captivating and so are many of the tales. The beauty of the Irish farmland and the lushness of the McGuigan’s forest home feel so real that I can almost touch the sheep’s wool and smell the pine. The visuals help bring the stories to life.
The description of the movie had me expecting that I would learn more about Irish traditions and culture, but the documentary did not live up to that expectation. There was too much emphasis on the Christian aspect of the faith, which I think is pretty well known, and not enough on the lesser known customs and traditions. There was also a point where McGuian began telling random stories about local events that did not seem relevant. The documentary offers enough, though, that I would recommend it, and I give the movie 3 stars.