Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Between Land and Sea, Between, Land, and, Sea, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Tom Doige-Harrison, Ollie O’flaherty, Fergal Smith, John McCarthy, Ross Whitaker, Adventure, Documentary, Sport

BETWEEN LAND AND SEA

★★★

SURFING, IRISH-STYLE

IRISH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
15th May 2019

People are often surprised to learn that Ireland has some of the best waves on Earth, due to its exposed location on the turbulent Atlantic seaboard, and has become increasingly known as a surfing destination. With a growing surfing subculture to accommodate the increased interest in the sport, Ireland has proved a popular choice with filmmakers making movies about surfing over the years.

‘Waveriders’, for example, released in 2008, featured the famous Aileens Wave at the Cliffs of Moher, a behemoth that has been taken on by some of the world’s best-known surfers. Mikey Corker also turned the lens on his own country in a three-part series, ‘Made in Ireland’, that followed big wave surfer Conor Maguire and examined the extreme challenges of surfing through an Irish winter.

Directed by Ross Whitaker (‘Unbreakable’, ‘When Ali Came to Ireland’), the new surfing documentary ‘Between Land and Sea’ focuses on Lahinch in West Clare, a sleepy coastal town in Liscannor Bay. Once renowned for its golf courses, since the turn of the century it has become a beacon for those wishing to tackle the big waves. Baggy golfing shorts have been replaced by Billabong T-shirts and surfing now plays an integral role in the local economy.

WATCH: 'BETWEEN LAND AND SEA'
WATCH HUNDREDS OF UNIQUE FILMS
SWITCH
WATCH

Taking place over one year, Whitaker begins his film in January, during the depths of winter. The beachfront shops are closed. Surfers repair their boards. Dexter McCullough, who runs the van-based surf school, thinks about how he’s going to stretch his grocery budget with months still to go before the 10-week summer rush (“the bills come in in wintertime, as they do in summertime,” he muses). Time rolls on and the torpor is shaken. Then unseasonal foul weather sets in.

Like ‘Waveriders’ before it, ‘Between Land and Sea’ places a large amount of focus on Ireland's most iconic big wave, known as Aileens, after the nearby Aill na Searrach cliffs. Although a popular location for tow-in surfing and championed by many as a “perfect wave”, Aileens is not an everyday occurrence, as it requires stormy conditions and strong east winds offshore.

Ironically, while the nature of the local weather is responsible for creating a Mecca for surfers worldwide, it also makes it a struggle for people trying to make a living in the area. Whitaker follows the lives of a few of the residents, attempting to eke out an existence in an unpredictable and hostile environment, whether that’s as a professional surfer, instructor or simply someone who wants to live near the water (a surfer quips, “it’s like having a playground on your doorstep – except my playground is the ocean”) and be self-sufficient in the face of the elements.

Kevin Smith’s waterbound photography is pristine and the sequences shot by drone (from the overlooking cliffs) show off West Clare’s beautifully rugged coastline.

The surfers have dedicated their lives to the ocean, consumed by the excitement and beauty on offer but, conscious too of economic realities, they live frugally, eschewing the luxuries of city life.

We meet a clutter of these wave enthusiasts. Local surfer Ollie Flaherty dreams of being fully sponsored. Tom Doige-Harrison is a rather glum engineer and surfboard shaper whose wife sells homemade craft soap from her kitchen. We watch Fergal Smith, formerly Ireland’s most prominent surfer (he quit the sport in 2012 when he stopped flying due to its impact on the environment), construct a yurt for his family and attempt to build a sustainable agricultural project in a muddy field. We learn about a religious revelation experienced by the mild-mannered John McCarthy, a pioneer of Irish surfing who is credited with naming the gargantuan Aileen’s Wave. A visiting surfing superstar (Hawaiian surfer Shane Dorian) refers to the distant cliffs of angry water as being “like something out of a movie.” 60-year-old Pat Conway swims across Liscannor Bay for his 43rd time and speaks about the connection he feels with the sea.

Some of these interview subjects are more interesting than others but, when interspersed with some awe-inspiring surfing footage, the pace of the documentary only sags towards the end. Kevin Smith’s water-bound photography is pristine and the sequences shot by drone (from the overlooking cliffs) show off West Clare’s beautifully rugged coastline.

Part insight, part tourism campaign, ‘Between Land and Sea’ is by no means the typical adrenaline-fuelled surf film. Instead, it presents the audience with an immersive and thought-provoking portrait of a people and a place.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 27m
CAST: Tom Doige-Harrison
Ollie O’flaherty
Fergal Smith
John McCarthy
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Ross Whitaker
PRODUCERS: Ross Whitaker
Anne McLoughlin
Jamie D'alton
SCORE: Michael Fleming
www.BetweenLandAndSea.com
BetweenLandAndSea2017
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!