Cinema Review – Between Land and Sea

Irish filmmaker Ross Whitaker takes a look at Irish coastal town Lahinch, and the challenges the inhabitants face in trying to live fulfilled lives in such an unforgiving climate; from surfers who can’t catch a wave, to people trying to live off the land and provide for their families.

Between Land and Sea is an interesting little documentary that follows the lives of several inhabitants of the beautiful Co. Clare town Lahinch, in the West of Ireland. Through the eyes of surf fan Tom Doidge-Harrison, big wave surfer Ollie O’Flaherty and Raquel Ruido Rodriguez who moved to the remote toen for love and is struggling to make a living.

What becomes clear throughout the subjects’ interviews and the beautiful cinematography of the film is that this small part of Ireland is idyllic in the summer months, when tourists and surfers flock to the town and bring it to life but the inhabitants struggle in the winter through the harsh weather and the lack of revenue coming into the area. There is a charm and a heart to all of the people interviewed in the film, and there is obviously a deliberate choice made to steer clear of the knack that Irish people have for complaining, and accentuate the positives of the area.

As director Ross Whitaker has found a story that is not often told; one of adversity even as surfing becomes ever more popular, and crosses this with surfers and former surfers who are drawn to Lahinch to follow their passions, but cannot help but give in to the effects that passing time has on their bodies, as well as the weather’s unpredictability. Obviously filmed in the aftermath of storms that battered the West coast of Ireland causing €23 million worth of damage to Lahinch, there are times when Between Land and Sea feels a little like a tourism board ad for the Co. Clare town, but it is hard to resist the beauty of the film, as well as the resilience of the people featured.

In all, Between Land and Sea is not a particularly hard hitting documentary, but it shines a light o a beautiful area of Ireland that not only deserves to be seen, but deserves to be celebrated. The subjects of the film are warm and charming, but a little more focus could have turned this from a good film to a great one.

Rating: 4/5

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