Vox Humana: Reviews and Comments
Irish filmmaker Bob Quinn claims that Vox Humana (Notes For A Small Opera) is likely to be his last work in a long career in independent filmmaking that has always operated outside the mainstream, based as it has been more recently in marginal areas of the Irish-language speaking West of Ireland. And, in contrast to much of his work which he believes was to a large extent driven by anger, the motivation for making Vox Humana was love. That much is evident in Quinn's use of Baroque music that fills this film, infusing it with warmth and beauty, but the director's anger is still there and it's unlikely expression through the medium of that music only makes it all the more effective...Rating: 80%
Galway Film Fleadh review by Scotts Movies. Com
Veteran Irish director Bob Quinn introduced this lovely piece of work as "a home movie," and the fact that it is on tape, rather than film, certainly makes it look that way.
The entire thing looks like it cost less than an evening's rounds at a Galway pub, but somehow Quinn has
It stars the real-life Galway Baroque Singers, and their heavenly music fills nearly the entire running time of the movie. It co-stars the city of Galway, which is shown in all its glorious photogenic beauty. But the heart and soul of the picture is Luke Cauldwell (Quinn's godson, as it happens) as a man living rough on the street. As the story unfolds, we learn the devastating reason that Luke's life has come to this. And we become invested in Luke's fate, as he becomes fascinated by the singers, in part because one of them bears a resemblance to his daughter.
I don't think I have ever seen a movie be quite so uplifting and despondent at the same time. At the risk of sounding trite, I will suggest that, if this movie could be seen at the right film festival, it could wind up doing for Galway and choral music what Once did for Dublin and sentimental pop music.
(Seen 10 July 2008)
A story of redemption - nearly.
Luke is an alcoholic and a petty thief. Once a talented drummer, he is now reduced to busking on litter bins, sleeping rough and strumming Rossini on his teeth.
He is estranged from his wife but desperately tries to keep in touch with his young son.
He becomes obsessed with a girl he sees in the street. She reminds him of his own small daughter and an accident for which he was partly responsible - the nightmare from which he has been trying to escape.
The film is called a small opera because operas are usually tragic, larger than life, whereas Luke is merely a statistic in a society such as ours.
Colour 80 minutes
What viewers said about VOX HUMANA
- I wept, one third of the way through it. And again, two thirds of the way. But at the end I was just silent. It is a work of art. (P.J.Q.)
- I saw a hymn to galway city. (G.MACB.)
- Thank you for a magnificent, heart-wrenching, evocative, beautiful, cruel (in the best and most challenging sense) and wonderfully credible piece of work in Vox Humana, which I've just watched.
- The contrasting voices - the beautiful voices of the Baroque Singers, the muted voice of the homeless man, the understandably confused and angry voice of his partner, the loving voice of their dead daughter, the ordinariness of their son's voice - all were poignantly and wonderfully captured.
- Well done and thank you again for a powerful story of life, love, loss, music and humour - truly Vox Humana. (JmcK)
- I think it is an extraordinary picture indeed. (C.O'C)
- Fantastic stuff! given that the little girl was speaking from heaven! The music was spiritual and I loved the way you kept it as pure as possible. (P.Q.)
- I got great pleasure from the multi-located celebration of choral and street music, of Conamara skies, and the city of Galway. (D.F.)
- In the film, the state blindly provided the receptacle for refuse, that became a deadly refuge for another of society's invisible outcasts. (CPQ)
- ...a mixed bag from (Quinn) beats the socks off a perfectly presented package from almost anyone else working in Irish film. (H.D.)
- it says a lot more than any book about how music comes just after air, water and food, sparring sex for a 4th place.... (N.P.)
Fáilte go Conamara
The newly restored Atlantean films
are now available on two DVDs in pristine 16:9 format.