THE IMAGE YOU MISSED
Directed by Donal Foreman
2019, 74 minutes
An Irish filmmaker grapples with the legacy of his estranged father, the late American documentarian Arthur MacCaig (1948-2008), through MacCaig's decades-spanning archive of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Years after documentarian Arthur MacCaig (1948-2008) shot his last footage amidst the blood and heat of the Northern Irish Troubles, his son, filmmaker Dónal Foreman, sifts through thirty years worth of never-before-seen footage left behind by his estranged father, discovering both an anti-colonial, socialist history of the conflict, and traces of his father left behind.
The son of Irish immigrants, American political filmmaker MacCaig centered most of his work around the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country. He made 20 films between 1979 and 2005 and most known for directing The Patriot Game and Irish Waysdocumentaries that both challenged the British portrayal of the Irish struggle as religious conflict. MacCaig instead depicted the Troubles as a conflict deeply rooted in Irish nationalism against British economic and political interest, the colonizer and the colonized.
After MacCaig passed away, Foreman immersed himself in his fathers private archive. While going through MacCaigs possessions and artifacts, Foreman began to imagine a conversation with his father. The Image you Missed is structured as a dialogue between two émigré political filmmaker filmmakers born into very different political movements, yet also father and son. By weaving together a history of the Northern Irish Troubles with the story of a sons search for his father, Foreman is able to dive straight to the heart of Irish identity, artistic and familial bonds, and the political potency of the moving image.
Subjects & Collections
Festivals & Awards
* Grand Jury Prize of Avant-Garde & Genre Competition (BAFICI)
* Prize for Best Original Music + Special Mention in French Competition (Cinéma du Réel)
* First Prize in International Competition (Filmmaker Fest)
* First Prize in International Competition (Transcinema Festival)
* First Prize in International Competition (Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote)
* First Look Award (Athens Avant-Garde Film Festival)
* "Portraits" Grand Jury Prize (DocsMX)
* Special Mention in International Competition (L'Alternativa)
“An intriguing documentary... that takes a sidelong look at the Troubles.”
—Ben Konigsberg,The New York Times
“A moving and thoughtful first-person essay film … No longer beholden to his elder’s legacy, Foreman seems poised to carve out one of his own.”
— Jordan Cronk, Film Comment
Foreman grapples with MacCaigs true-believer propaganda with a more nuanced approach, yielding a dichotomy of great relevance to todays video essay makers: those 'able to reach conclusions' and those 'always concerned with what gets left out.'
Kevin B. Lee, Sight & Sound
Further Reading“Reality Isn’t Given — You Have to Take It”: Writer/Director Donal Foreman on His Fictional Memoir, The Image You Missed - Filmmaker Magazine
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