“Reconciliation” is the title of an ancient Irish love poem. Its author is unknown. The poem has had a healthy life in the traditions of Irish song and storytelling, and has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The poem celebrates monogamy and commitment, without sacrificing passion (it’s actually quite racy, given its age). And yet, for all the romance, the title suggests that someone has been wronged.
And that is why it’s such an eerie Irish poem. Although it’s centuries old, all of Ireland’s political struggle, its desire to live in partnership with, but independent of Great Britain, is right there between the lines. And in its final words, the poem imagines a life in which two people can live in perfect concert, open to accepting what each has to offer the other.
But no love affair, between two people or two nations, can be perfect. The struggle, the give-and-take, is constant. In the single shot of this film, a love affair is imagined, comes into view, is beautiful for a moment, and then drifts away again. It’s still there – one can still see it – but it will take great effort to focus on it, to maintain it. No one said it would be easy.