Movie : Oran na h-Eala
Director : Steve Exeter
” The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are…”
– Jim Morrison
The movie is a tale of choices and their consequences. It is a story about clairvoyance and disillusionment. It is a story about embracing one’s passion and the enticing lure of fame.
Oran na h-Eala gyrates around the life and consciousness of Moira Shearer.
She was a renowned ballet dancer and actress. She is best remembered for her performances in Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffman and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom.
The Red Shoes delivered the superficial pomp it promised. However Moira soon discovered there was a void. Something that tore her between her passion and the irrational demands of a world blinded by material urges.
The abysmal void threatened to devour her sense of individuality. There are a number of impeccably drawn parallels between Moira and her somewhat tragic alter ego Victoria Page.
The Red Shoes became an international phenomenon acquiring accolades and praises from one and all. However Moira Shearer found herself perturbed by a stranger despite being amidst a plethora of praises. Something told her that the movie did not represent who she truly was, her passions, her shortcomings. She was desperate to embrace her true self.
The story about a young ballerina torn between her art and her romance with a young composer in The Red Shoes somehow echoed the story of Moira Shearer’s life. She stood at perhaps one of the more menacing crossroads in her life. The lure of opulence was not making her choice particularly easier. However, the trepidation of losing herself, her individuality , she realized , would cost her more in the long run.
In the movie we recognise the grace and elegance of ballet as each step taken takes us to the domain of ethereal bliss.
The lure of the bioscope becomes the ubiquitous counter pull in her life. Something that attracts her towards short lived glory and superficial fame, away from the mirth of something real, something more beautiful.
There exists no hierarchy or hegemony in art. There is nothing inferior or superior in the blissful world of creation and one must never feel small, never feel like she has been intentionally driven towards the margins.
The technical aspects of the movie appear flawless. The execution is inch perfect. Every frame, every color, the background music brings out the tension (both internal and external ) on the screen. The dilemma of Moira is intimate and universal. The abyss of despair is scaring both the protagonist in the film and the viewers.
The dualities are perfectly depicted through the use of the colors red and blue. The two sides of the same coin, the human psyche, the side of good and the side of evil.
There is perhaps a bleak indication of the paradox of fame. Something that takes one away from one’s beloved passion.
Every song represents the fear of Moira, her reservations, and her anxiety.
There is the recurrent image of Moira looking at the mirror. She is perhaps looking at herself. She might be questioning herself, her conscience, to know if it (fame) is indeed what she truly wanted, would it eventually liberate her in the truest sense of the term.
Her confessions foreshadow the curse of popularity. Perhaps the magnificence of fame, the immensity of wealth devours the true essence of mankind.
One could genuinely realize oneself if she is away from the cacophony of empty rhetorics into the silence of everything that is true and genuine.
The images of two men, the directors depicted as shadows tormenting an individual by luring her with promises of money, fame and immortality represent the crooked pangs of temptations.
The good angel bad angel dichotomy like that in Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is impeccably depicted in the movie. The enticing aspects are universal and therefore the temptations appear more relatable.
One must know the story of Moira Shearer, her struggles, her choices and the reasons behind making them and Oran na h-Eala presents the viewers a brief but precise view of her somewhat tumultuous life.