Under The
Lighthouse Dancing

Under The Lighthouse Dancing

Under The Lighthouse Dancing follows a group of
six friends who gather one weekend in Australia

Under The Lighthouse Dancing

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One of the best things about small independent films is how great they relay emotion. They don't have the budget for special effects. Often they can not afford large stars. They have to rely upon talent to get the message across. This film is an excellent example of such a small film. Small in budget and perhaps audience but very large on talent, construction and emotional impact.

Under The Lighthouse Dancing follows a group of six friends who gather one weekend in Australia. They are elated to find that one couple, Harry (Jack Thompson) and Emma (Jacqueline McKenzie) plan to be married that very weekend. It turns out that Emma is dying and she wants more than anything to marry the love of her life as soon as possible. Add to this a blossoming fix up between David (Aden Gillett) and Emma's friend Louise (Naomi Watts) and a stable couple Garth (Philip Holder) and Juliet (Zoe Bertram) and the island is full of wonderfully portrayed emotion.

This cast simply blew me away the first time I saw Under The Lighthouse Dancing on cable late one night. The depth of their talent is incredible. McKenzie is wonderful as Emma. She invokes such an emotional response from the audience that you are transfixed by her ability. In perfect counterpoint to her is Watts as Louise. Watts provides a vibrant engird and in many of her scenes with Gillett gives Under The Lighthouse Dancing the comic balance a story like this needs in order to avoid becoming too emotionally draining. The cast plays off each other as if they were life long friends. They show a familiarity and comfort with each other that carries the story beyond the melodrama it could have become. Instead of being a real down film they lift it into a celebration of life and love.

Director Graeme Rattigan is a master at his craft. He exhibits a skill and sensitivity not often seen in Hollywood mainstream films. Every shot is perfectly planned. Each setup is set like a painted master. The cinematography and set design are so well integrated into the film that you will forget for an hour and a half were you are and enter their world. I often felt like an outsider watching Under The Lighthouse Dancing. an interloper watching the intimate moments of these people's lives. Without a doubt the Australian scenery is a member of the cast. It is awesome. The deep blue of the sea, the azure sky all add to the feeling of Under The Lighthouse Dancing. The director makes excellent use of the scenery in the telling of this story. Rattigan moves us through a pivotal weekend in the lives of these people with a backdrop of beauty and wonder.

Under The Lighthouse Dancing is a real undiscovered gem. Look for it on cable. The sound is wonderfully balanced, the video clear as the deep blue Australian waters that occupy so much of the scenery. Unfortunately, this film is not currently available on either DVD or VHS so keep an eye on cable listings. It is well worth it. I am currently trying to contact the producer of Under The Lighthouse Dancing. I understand that he is making a video tape of it available. I will post the information here as soon as I get it and contact all the people that have expressed interest in the film. As of October 2003 there is still no movement in the distribution of Under The Lighthouse Dancing. Please keep checking back and I'll post any news as I get it. Many people have asked me about the wedding blessing in this movie. Here it is.

Deep peace of the running wave to you Deep peace of the flowing air to you Deep peace of the quiet earth to you Deep peace of the of the shining star to you Deep peace of the of the son of peace to you.

Although the film and soundtrack are not available there is a choral arrangement of this blessing by Bill Douglas in his CD 'Deep Peace'.

Movie Review of Under The Lighthouse Dancing
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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