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Two English cartographers visit the small South Wales village of Ffynnon Garw, to measure what is claimed to be the "first mountain inside of Wales". It's 1917, and the war in Europe continues. The villagers are very proud of their "mountain", and are understandably disappointed and furious to find that it is in fact a "hill". Not to be outwitted by a rule (and the Englishmen who enforce it), the villagers set out to make their hill into a mountain, but to do so they must keep the English from leaving, before the job is done. Written by
Selected for the "Un certain Regard" section (Cannes International Film Festival, May 1995) See more »
When walking down the mountain, after the final measurement, Anson does not have the quadrant that he must have used to measure the mountain. See more »
For some odd reason, lost in the mists of time, there's an extraordinary shortage of last names in Wales. Almost everyone seems to be a Williams, a Jones, or an Evans. To avoid widespread confusion, Welsh people often add an occupation to a name. For example, there was Williams the Petroleum, and Williams the Death. There was Jones the Bottle, and Jones the Prize Cabbage... which described his hobby and his personality. Evans the Bacon, and Evans the End of the World. But one man's...
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A heartwarming story of hope in a time when there was little or nothing to celebrate
This movie proved to me what a fine actor Ian Hart is. Never been a Hugh Grant fan because he is almost always the same in everything he does so the novelty of the " English Fop" has worn off for me. Tara Fitzgerald always plays the sexy girl and, to be honest, I have never been a fan of her acting style, despite doing a good welsh accent. No, this film for me, which, despite my criticism of the leads, is one of my favorite movies because of its fantastic supporting cast. Colm Meaney is always good value and Ian Mcniece always adds quality to everything he does. However, getting back to my opening statement, it was Ian Hart's performance that moved me the most. It goes to prove that you don't have to have many lines or a leading role to turn in a masterful performance. In every scene he appeared in, he just excelled. To portray someone who has suffered the horrors of the trenches of World War 1 is not easy and it would have been easy to overdo it but he doesn't. The scene on top of the mountain after the lightning strike where, mentally, he is transported back to the horrors of the trenches, was truly moving. When Williams brings him back to the pub, again, despite what is going on with other characters and their dialog, we are drawn to him. He truly owns the scene.
In every scene that we see him in, it is the haunted look that we see on his face, in his eyes, that truly captures the underlying theme of this movie - the desire for something good to come out of such hard times; a community that has lost so much desperately trying to recapture its pride by ensuring Ffynnon Garw is retained as Wales first mountain. Johnny is one that came home when the rest of the villages young men are unlikely to. He is one that the village is trying to cling onto although, most of the time, he is just beyond their reach. He is there in the flesh but not truly in spirit.
Pivotal moments - standing up and speaking about the trenches at the village meeting. I loved the Reverand Jones reaction to Johnny speaking
the tears in his eyes, trying not to break down. Johnny is the one,
probably the only one in the village, who is able to make the Reverand and Morgan the Goat set aside their differences.
I loved the shot of Johnny after the breakdown when the voice-over speaks of the days of rain that followed. In one frame, Hart perfectly captures the haunted and damaged young man that Johnny is.
I loved it when Johnny tells the School teacher to " Stop acting so English"
and I absolutely ADORED Johnny's epiphany near the end of the movie where he decides it is time to stop being afraid and face his fear. The camera zooming right into him so that the entire screen is his. The village applauding his arrival to the top of the mountain was magical. One of their sons was home at last. He was finally back with them.
Of course you could just see this movie as a heart warming comedy - and sure, it can be enjoyed this way but I would urge all of you, if not already, to go back and watch it again from the perspective I have illustrated.
As an actor, Ian Hart is a master, and in his portrayal as "Johnny Shell Shocked", a master is truly at work. Any aspiring actor would do well to get this man's entire back catalog on DVD to see how it ought to be done.
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