On a Paving Stone Mounted

    • Director

      Thaddeus O'Sullivan

    • Credits

      Producer: Mary Pat Leece. Writer: Thaddeus O'Sullivan

    • Principal Cast

      J M O'Neill, Maureen Toal, Arthur O'Sullivan, John Murphy, Paul Bennett, Edward de Souza, Annabel Leventon, Annie Balfour

  • Category

    Feature
    Experimental
    First Wave

Funded by the BFI’s film production fund, Paving Stone is O’Sullivan’s feature-length, mixed-mode experimental film. It tries to express the emigrant condition through the central dilemma of the function of memory. Its action moves back and forth between location sequences shot in London, Croagh Patrick and Dublin. The editing resists continuity; much use is made of subjective camera work; and there is no controlling narrator device to provide the viewer with a linear structure. The structure expresses the processes of perception and memory-work. As O’Sullivan himself has noted: “[Memories are]… not simply the ‘past’ but a production of remembrance by the emigrant”. The film is formally framed by two scenes of presentation and story-telling, featuring an author-raconteur at the beginning and the professional seanchaí at the end. In contrast the film offers up non-professional voices that self-consciously address the discursive terrain of Anglo-Irish stereotypes, highly charged in the late 1970s. But paradoxically, for all its use of different story-telling modes, the film itself is recalcitrantly non-narrative.  

Notes by Lance Pettitt.

96 minutes, United Kingdom, 1978, B&W


The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland