Friday, March 25, 2011


Over the past eighteen months Gideon Koppel’s beautifully shot documentary film, Sleep Furiously, has been delighting audiences across the land with its meditative portrayal of life in rural Trefeurig. The small concerns of everyday living set against the majesty and permanence of the landscape proved absolutely compelling. It’s an elegy for a passing way of life, of course, but ultimately a celebration of ordinary humanity, too. And it has got a great soundtrack.

In light of this I’m quite curious about a programme Koppel made for S4C back in 1994, entitled Ernest (see pic). It was, apparently, a docu-drama about Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones – chum of Sigmund Freud and his chief propagandist. Richard Lynch starred as Jones and Philip Madoc as Freud. It was shot in b/w; had a Welsh-language narrative; and the drama was intercut with archive footage. The programme lasted an hour.

In creating his characters Koppel drew upon Jones’s autobiographical writings, as well as his correspondence with Freud. He also employed psychoanalytic techniques within the drama itself. At the time Koppel said of the programme: “I am intrigued by the idea of a Welshman becoming a leading light of psychoanalysis at a time when it was the exclusive preserve of Eastern European jews.” Koppel also wanted his programme to be given subtitles and shown to a wider audience.

Sounds like my cup of entertainment. It’d be cool if S4C repeated Ernest at some point or even made it available to view online.