THE TIMES: Gaelic set to make a cinematic comeback
19th May 2006
A YEAR after the Scottish Parliament gave Gaelic equal status with English as an official language of Scotland, the first Gaelic feature film is to be announced at the Cannes Film Festival this week.
Scotland’s mother tongue is a Celtic language introduced from Ireland in AD500. Barely 70,000 people still speak it, but Chris Young, a Scottish film-maker who has had two English-language films competing at Cannes in previous years and who is teaching himself Gaelic, is trying to breathe new life into it through the cinema.
Speaking to The Times at the Cannes festival, he said: “Gaelic has the most fantastic tradition of music, poetry, literature and storytelling. Movies are about telling stories. I thought it was tragic that there isn’t a Gaelic cinema. So let’s begin that.”
On May 29 he begins a five-week shoot on the Isle of Skye of Seachd — The Inaccessible Pinnacle, about a storyteller who helps his grandchildren to face the tragic loss of their parents on the great Cuillin mountain range of Skye by telling them extraordinary tales.
Padruig Morrison, from Grimsay, North Uist, will play the nine-year-old boy opposite the Gaelic bard and novelist Aonghas Padraig Caimbeul, as his grandfather. Scottish Screen has invested £150,000 in the film.
Gaelic was the main language in most Scottish rural areas until the early 17th century. In 1616 the Scottish Parliament ruled that it should be “abolisheit and removeit”.
by Dalya Alberge