THAT THEY MAY FACE THE RISING SUN is quiet, patience, delightful film that utterly swept me up in spite of myself. As it began, I am ashamed to say I rather held it in contempt. Who are these people, I thought, meandering about their farm in rural Ireland, talking about nothing with seemingly endless oldies in their kitchen? And what is with this young couple? Who goes about learning to keep bees, and weave baskets, and card wool except for Gwyneth Paltrow wannabe super-rich wannabe holistic arseholes? I was exactly the English urban-dweller that these Irish rural oldies describe as almost comically alien to them.
But slowly and surely I was drawn into this beautiful, patient, kinder world. I fell in with the rhythm of the year, the changing seasons, the meandering conversations, the surprising love stories, and the economic hardships. I found myself admiring the couple for immersing themselves in the world without condescension, and caring deeply for the villagers who accepted them into their midst.
Apparently this film is based upon a much-admired novel by John McGahern and I am now desperate to read it. And I am full of admiration for director Pat Collins and to all his cast for so beautifully rendering the everyday beauty of the slow-life and the true worth of real human connection. This film made my heart sing, and transported me. It was a gift.
THAT THEY MAY FACE THE RISING SUN has its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2023.