Between Land and Sea (2017) ***

March 28th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Ross Whittaker | Doc| Ireland |87′

Between Land and Sea shows how a little village can change from one season to the next and from a generation to the one that follows as its population struggles not only to survive but to make the most of a sustainable existence. There are only so many crashing waves, glorious sunsets and smiling locals one can admire for 96 minutes, and whether Whittaker’s film can sustain interest in the absence of an engrossing narrative arc is the only criticism here.

Once famous for its golfing activity, Lahinch, Co. Clare now buzzes during the summer months when surfers flock to its wild Atlantic seascapes featuring the cliffs of Moher to capture the mammoth waves. At the end of the season the place recedes back into the emerald landscape taken over by its regular population, nature and the elements.

The film opens as the New Year descends on Lahinch, shops boarded up but behind closed doors villagers who have decided to make their lives to this ravishing part of Ireland are eeking out a meagre existence preparing for the coming season when the Easter weekend will see the return of tourists to fill their coffers once again. We then get a close-up view of the villagers’ lives in and out of the water: Tom Doige-Harrison (and his Spanish wife Raquel Ruido Rodriguez), Ollie O’Flaherty, Fergal Smith, John McCarthy and Dexter McCullough, along with Pat Conway and get to learn how they are make ends meet in this glorious back to nature idyll. Champion surfer Shane Dorian also makes an appearance.

If nothing else, Between Land and Sea serves as an imressive travelogue for those interested in the popular destinations of Riley’s Wave and Aileen’s Wave on this stunning Atlantic coastline captured in Kevin Smith’s impressive aerial and in-water camerawork which provides some breathtaking shots. MT



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